SAN ANTONIO – Videos showing students purportedly from San Antonio using cat intestines to jump rope were shot at Winston Churchill High School, a Northeast Independent School District spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
The two videos were shared to the social media platform SnapChat, and showed students jumping rope with the intestines of dissected cats in a Churchill classroom.
NEISD spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor said the demonstration was not meant to be degrading or disrespectful in any way.
"The lesson was intended to demonstrate and explore the strength of the organ,” she said. "The teacher participated in this same lesson in her college courses at Texas A&M."
Chancellor said neither the students nor the teacher will be disciplined. After the video surfaced, Chancellor said the high school will no longer allow that particular lesson in the classroom.
"If we can find a lesson that is equally effective as this one and doesn't offend people in the process, we're going to call it a win-win," she said.
The animal activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has condemned the videos.
"Studies show that classroom animal dissection can foster callousness toward living beings, and these gruesome 'jump rope' videos are a particularly sad example," PETA Senior Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg said.
Chancellor said the Churchill students are upset that they’re being portrayed as being disrespectful.
"Being a student in said class, I am overwhelmingly disappointed in the negativity that is directed, not only to the anatomy program, but to our school as a whole," said one student. "I value every animal life and would never engage in any activity that I believed would be disrespectful to the animals I am examining, and I understand that to someone from the outside looking in may take offense to the acts of several individuals that were portrayed in the video, however the activity took place in order to more thoroughly understand the length and strength of the intestines that we were studying."
PETA has called for the use of digital disection of animals via software.
"There are over 50 peer-reviewed studies that look at student learning outcomes and they have overwhelmingly concluded that students who learn using non-animal methods, such as computer programs, do better than their peers who dissected animals," said Samantha Suiter, PETA Science Education Specialist.
Chancellor said the district tried using that method at another high school previously but it "didn't prove to be effective" and there were problems with connectivity.