Donna Luiz, California
Teaches Students to Fight Against Animal Cruelty
As a California elementary school teacher I never miss an opportunity to remind my students to report animal cruelty to an adult they trust or a police officer. I teach in a tough East Oakland neighborhood, where animal cruelty is a huge problem. A few of my students once informed me that a troubled 6-year-old student had beaten some newborn kittens with a stick. I immediately alerted our school psychologist and used the opportunity to talk to the kids about how animals are like babies and need our help to keep them safe.
Whenever I speak to my students about animal cruelty, hands go up and I am inundated by stories of abuse. "Ms. Luiz, I saw my cousin hurt a little cat." Or, "My uncle kicked a puppy." It goes on and on and all I can do is teach them that our little friends feel every bit of pain and fear that we do, and assure them that we can help animals. That's when I see in their eyes a glimmer of hope.