(Reuters) - An Idaho high school teacher under fire for killing and skinning a rabbit in front of his students to demonstrate how animals are processed for food has apologized to children disturbed by the incident, a school official said on Friday.
The part-time teacher is a farmer who raises rabbits and other livestock for food and was asked to provide a lesson on animal slaughter and processing by students in a 10th-grade biology class he taught at a high school in the Nampa School District near Boise, said district spokeswoman Allison Westfall.
School administrators were not consulted about the demonstration, which happened last week but came to light in recent days after a parent called the district to complain, Westfall said.
The teacher, whose name was withheld, expressed his regrets to students on Monday after one of them told educators the exercise, which entailed breaking the rabbit’s neck before butchering it, was upsetting, she said.
Killing and skinning animals is not part of the district’s 10th-grade biology curriculum, said Westfall, who added: “It’s not something that’s done in our schools.”
The teacher had once before been asked by students to show them how to slaughter and process a rabbit but had declined on that occasion, she said. He excused any students who didn’t wish to attend the class when the rabbit was killed and an unknown number did not participate, said Westfall.
She said the district, once a school system with mostly rural students but which has seen a rapid increase in enrollment and urbanization because of its proximity to Idaho’s capital city, expects teachers to consult with administrators on new lesson plans before executing them.
She declined to say if the teacher in question is facing penalties for his actions, citing confidentiality tied to personnel matters.
Reporting by Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Eric Beech