View Full Version : Troubles at School, Lessons not vegan friendly.

10-27-05, 10:08 am
I've had some troubles with what we've been doing in school lately. In 3 different videos, we've seen dead animals and it's really starting to disturb me. In History, we've seen 2 separate videos with entirely unsessecary clips of cows being slaughtered. WHY?! It's justg disturbing and unessecary! In scinece class, we were watching a video about things that the human eye can not see. We were watching sped-up videos of things like fruits rotting, and then they showed a mouse decomposing!:eye-poppi Honestly, if that had been a dead person, or even a dog or cat, and not a mouse, theywoldn't have even considered showing it! Also, in English, the teacher made us write about a cow, and he had a slideshow of cow paintings, including a slaughtered cow:sad:

And now I have even more problems. In History, because we are learning about industrialization, we are reading some of The Jungle, which, for those who don't know, is a book that is primarily about Chicago's slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants. I have to read a book that goes into graphic detail about pigs being slughtered. Wonderful.
Aaaaaannd, in Science class, we're going to be doing an entire unit where we study organisms(from what I've heard, probably crawfish), and we will have to observe dead organisms and organisms eating each other.
Ok, that was pretty much just venting, but if anyone has any suggestions on what I could do to not have to do things like read The Jungle, or anytnig like that, please tell me!

10-27-05, 10:55 am
Hi tatalp!

Sorry to hear that the lessons are so horrible. When I was at school which wasnt so long ago mind youlol we had to disect a pigs eye.

It did count towards our grades but me and my friends refused. The teacher repected this and let us sit out of the experiment, and let us do something else do gain our marks.

I guess the only thing I can recommend is voicing your opinions. Write a letter to the school principal and tell him that you are offended by the graphic content in some videos they show in class. Suggest that could they be a bit more repectful for your beliefs and prehaps minimise the graphics or you could prehaps sit outside or in another class when they show them?

I guess you could think of it as if you were a jew and you saw a video of jews being killed you would be upset naturally. Same as you are a vegetarian/vegan and they are showing you animals being slaugherted so naturaly you would get upset. It a matter of your belief system and they should repsect that.

Get a teacher to help you write the letter or maybe get your parents to write one for you. If you need any help with writing it you can pm me if you would like.

Hope ive helped!:cheerful:

10-27-05, 12:13 pm
Well, my dad's already complained, but I don't think there's much the school can do about it. It's the county's curriculum, and the school has to follow it. I couldn't sit out from the Science lessons, because we'll probably be spending the entire quarter on it, and all the other classes will too.

10-27-05, 01:59 pm
If you really have to sit through it all I guess you have to.

You could always write to a government representative voicing your opinions on the school curriculum and suggest that it be changed slightly to make it animal friendly.

You could also pretend to read a book and really be closing your eyes when the video is on and get your friends to tell you about it later.

Instead of reading the book the ''jungle'' you could also search the internet for summary's of the book and make notes. That way you will not have to read it but will have enough of an understanding of the book the theme's, plots e.t.c to pass the exams.

Hope ive helped a little! Goodluck

10-27-05, 06:02 pm
cavy lover-I will definetly write to the reps about it! And as for the videos, I did close my eyes and have a friend tell me when it was over, but I still wound up seening the beginning of the clips. And for The Jungle, that wou9ldn't work because we're reading it in class, and I'm not very good at faking reading. I don't think I could stand not read with a book in my face either, I'm such a nerd! :D But I'm going to skip over the more guesome paragraphs, which I have notinced don't even have anything to do with the main plot. As usual.>(

Percy's Mom
10-27-05, 07:15 pm
But I'm going to skip over the more guesome paragraphs, which I have notinced don't even have anything to do with the main plot. As usual.>(
Be VERY careful with this method of reading the book. I've read The Jungle (many many years ago) and was tested on it, and even though you think the gruesome parts have nothing to do with the plot, they will most likely have quite a bit to do with what you're tested on. While the lessons you've been put through recently are obviously offensive to you, they're going to be planned for the majority instead of the minority of the people in the classes.

10-28-05, 06:39 am
I haven't read The Jungle and don't know why it would be included in the curriculum. I assume they aren't trying to glorify slaughterhouses, though. I would think you might have some leniency on that one by having your father write a letter citing religious beliefs and offering an alternative. You would still have to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of whatever the core ideas of the book are - I can't imagine they are trying to get you to memorize slaughterhouse methods, so there must be something else in the book which has merit. Do you know what they teach with it?

As for the rest - you might try shifting some of your thinking. Studying organisms, and organisms eating other organisms, is physical science. It hasn't anything to do what you eat. Watching the mouse decompose - organisms decompose. Everything organic does that. It isn't a horrible thing, nor cruel, and it isn't any different for vegans. The food chain, and the life cycle, are pretty much without "morals" - they're how the world is designed, and I bet you don't think they're "wrong". Gaining an understanding of these things helps us all see the beauty and intricacy of nature, at the micro and macro levels, and appreciate our own place in it.

Not all learning is pleasant. I don't like it that lions will kill baby zebras, but I know they do it. I didn't like learning about concentration camps, but it did happen and I did learn about it and it added to my understanding of human nature - which I hope makes me a more compassionate person. You don't have to support everything you learn about - like slaughterhouses - but knowing about real things is education. Maybe you could try to think of it like that?

10-28-05, 05:44 pm
TFP-It's included because we're studying Industrailiazation/Urbanization. The main plot is that a Lithuainian family moves to America and strulles though getting jobs, homes, etc. That's why we're reading it. Although I wouldn't be surprised if my teacher gave us questions on the test about slaughter cattle, she always has the most unimportant questions there are on the the test! In the words of one of my friends, "Some of the questions were like, 'What is the birthdate of General Custer's hamster?"
About Science, well, I already understand death. Having your beloved hamster die in your hands gives you a pretty good understanding and appereciation of death. I also already know plenty about slaughterhouses, I've done plenty of research on them, but school is the one place I like to not have to think about things like that and just learn, without feeling upset or disturbed!

10-28-05, 06:43 pm
Bummer, but I guess if you want to take the course you'll just have too deal with it...it is a bummer though...just try not to think to hard about it...do the test and forget it!

10-28-05, 07:51 pm
I wrote a letter to complaining to the county school system complaining about the curriculum. I hope to he a response soon.

Hello, I am currently a _____ Grade student enrolled at __________ School. I am writing to complain about some of the curriculum that is being taught. In my Honors History class, we have been shown two videos in which they have short clips of cattle being slaughtered. This particularly upsets me, as I am a vegan and don't belive in killing animals. Showing this footage is the equivalent of showing Jewish students a video of Jews being killed. It is very disturbing footage, and I would like the videos to be banned from being shown in ______ County schools. I would also like to complain about a book that is part of the History curriculum: The Jungle. This book, even your adapted version, has graphic descriptions of the animals, particularly hogs, being slaughtered. If you cannot find a different book that would teach us about Idustrialization without involving animals being killed, please at least remove the descriptions of the processes that happen as an animal is killed and processed. I used to consider school a place to learn without seeing suffering and cruelty and having it permitted by the county.

10-29-05, 05:03 am
I just point blankly refused to do anything like that at school. They accepted it so I was lucky. They should show those kind of things at school. Also about the dead humans my school showed us that in very graphic detail. I hated it so I walked out.

10-29-05, 08:03 am
Wow, Bromers! My school would never let me do that.. They're really strict, if we're late to class 3 times, even if its only by a second, we get detention:rolleyes:

Percy's Mom
10-29-05, 09:56 am
Showing this footage is the equivalent of showing Jewish students a video of Jews being killed.
I had every intention of letting other people field the rest of this discussion until I read the letter that you sent to the county school system, and being Jewish myself, I thought I would comment on the analogy you included. Just because something is offensive or graphic doesn't mean it shouldn't be taught. I can't tell you how many videos I've seen over the years of clips from the Holocaust, many of them showing people being stripped and herded into gas chambers or so thin that you could outline every bone in their emaciated bodies, and often times, these videos made me sick to my stomach, but I would not have traded seeing them for reading an edited book about the war that might not have offended me. Learning about things like the Holocaust, or reading books like The Jungle in detail help the world learn about the past and make things better in the future. While you might not eat meat, the butchering and meat processing industries have improved by leaps and bounds due to the revelations and details included in The Jungle, which was Upton Sinclair’s mission in the first place. I know it sounds clichéd, but it really is true when people say, “Those who do not learn about the past are doomed to repeat it.”

The world isn't a place that you can separate yourself from things that are against your sensibilities, and school is basically a microcosm of the rest of the world. I understand that being young and still in school it's hard to see the point in learning about and viewing things you don't like, but eventually it will make sense. That sense might be making your resolve to remain vegan and improving the way animals are treated even stronger, but it will all come together for you.

10-29-05, 11:49 am
Wow, Bromers! My school would never let me do that.. They're really strict, if we're late to class 3 times, even if its only by a second, we get detention:rolleyes:

They don't I get in trouble all the time. They only keep me because I'm smart :D

10-29-05, 06:16 pm
I have to agree with Percys Mom and she summed it up pretty well so I'll just leave it at what she said.

10-30-05, 02:41 am
Very, very well said Percy's Mom. I completely agree. Just because you don't see something happening, doesn't mean it stops happening. I would only object if it was actual dissections - and I'm sure you would be able to opt out of that.

Percy's Mom
10-30-05, 07:14 am
There is another discussion where Sabriel and I discussed disections in detail if anyone is interested. I didn't bring that point up on purpose because it's been discussed at length already.

10-30-05, 12:15 pm
Originally Posted by Tatalp
Wow, Bromers! My school would never let me do that.. They're really strict, if we're late to class 3 times, even if its only by a second, we get detention:rolleyes:

Same here except its even worse. If we're late twice we have detention where we have to scrape gum off of desks and off of under the caffeteria tables and stuff. Each time you're late after twice, the gum duty doubles...soo gross....I only had to do it once before I was always on time for class.

10-30-05, 02:25 pm
Ewwwwww....have you ever accidentally touched gum under a table at school? Its disgusting!!

12-02-05, 06:52 pm
Sorry to resurect this, but did anything change from your letter Tatalp?
I was reading that unless you have to disect anything, then you should contiune to learn it... last year in Biology we had no choice but to disect a fetal pig. If we didn't our teacher told us that we would fail the course. It was the saddest thing I have ever had to put my mind to do. As well as the most disgusting. This year we heard that they had changed the rules, and now vegetarians, and those with religion type beliefs could sit out of the disection. I'm not sure why they changed the rules, maybe because someone mailed the Catholic school board. Things do change if they are brought to someones attention. Good luck with what your trying to accomplish.:)

12-03-05, 05:16 pm
There is another discussion where Sabriel and I discussed disections in detail if anyone is interested. I didn't bring that point up on purpose because it's been discussed at length already.

I actually never discussed disections with anyone that I recal. You must have confused me with another loud oppionated poster. :) It's ok, it happens.

12-11-05, 10:58 am
My suggestion is to read a book called the Teenage Liberation Handbook. I'm unschooled and have never been happier! Us kids don't need their silly curriculum; we're not idiots that need to be taught how to think!

01-02-06, 07:06 pm
You may be interested to read the National Science Teachers Assocation's position statement on the Responsible Use of Live Animals and Dissection in the Science Classroom:


There is nothing in the statement saying that students should be forced to dissect; rather, they make a point that there should be pedagogically sound reasons for choosing dissection as a teaching tool, and that teachers should be sensitive to student objections and needs, including finding alternate and meaningful activities.

I teach undergraduate non-majors biology at a community college, and the only dissection we have in all three terms is the grasshopper -- and that is optional. Most of the time when non-majors students dissect, as they did in the university where I taught for a while, they do a quick "cut, look, throw away," which doesn't teach them a whole lot. There are better ways to teach anatomy, even comparative anatomy, than handing every student a dead animal and making them carve into it.

In my opinion, routine dissection is inappropriate for non-majors and for regular high school biology. Teachers who still use it are usually following the lab curriculum that comes with the textbook. Usually the lab books have people dissecting pigs when studying mammals, dissecting frogs when studying amphibians, etc. I prefer to use an ecological focus and discuss what the animals are doing in their evironment and how they are adapted to their ecological niches. At most I may use specimens or a limited number of dissected specimens to demonstrate comparative anatomy, but photographs, diagrams, and online resources often get the point across much better.