Schools strive to prepare children for life in the real world, but when a Florida high school teacher decided to give her students a first-hand view of how cruel nature can be, she placed herself in the middle of controversy.
As part of an agriculture lesson at Plant City High School, Jane Bender oversaw the birth of a litter of rabbits. When two of the bunnies were rejected by the mother Bender saw an opportunity to teach her students the harsh reality that sometimes baby animals die.
|Absurd cuteness was not a factor in Bender's decision to kill the bunnies.|
According to ABC News, Bender informed the class that the babies would eventually die and that it was their responsibility to kill them now and spare them a prolonged death. ABC reported that the “students said they had offered to take care of the bunnies, but Bender said she did not want to bottle-feed the newborns. She ordered the students to bury them alive.”
When the class refused, Bender took matters into her own hands by escorting everyone outside where she put the bunnies in a bag, dug a hole, tossed the bag in, hit the bag a few times with the shovel and filled the hole back in. The scene was enough to cause at least one student to vomit.
"She came over with a shovel and just sort of chopped in the hole, and then buried them," student Ryan Harrell told ABC. He said he was so upset by his teacher's actions that he threw up and then broke down crying. "I was really shocked and appalled. I didn't have any words for it."
Once the story broke, an investigation by the Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Office was launched. After handing the case to the state attorney’s office it was determined that Bender’s actions, while highly questionable, were not criminal. She was cited for two counts of cruelty to animals.
"Her only comment was that she had made a bad decision," Animal Services investigator Dennis McCullough told ABC. "I definitely felt that the teacher needed to be held accountable."
See other articles in the Unbelievable School Decisions series:
Unbelievable School Decisions: Child Stranded in Tree
Unbelievable School Decisions: Student Cage Match
Unbelievable School Decisions: Your Teacher Isn’t Really Dead
Unbelievable School Decisions: Kids Made to Don Prison Jumpsuits
Unbelievable School Decisions: "Pucker Up" Pep Rally
Unbelievable School Decisions: Cheating Teachers