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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Whackademia Quote: Are Students Wasting Their Time Dissecting Cats?

     A former English teacher at Newport Harbor [California] High School is suing Newport-Mesa Unified School District alleging that district administrators retaliated against her after she publicly questioned the need for students to dissect cat carcasses.

     Karen Coyne claims in her Orange County Superior Court lawsuit that the district and several employees created a hostile work environment, violated her free speech and assigned her another job without her consent. Coyne is seeking a year's salary and benefits, which amounts to about $84,000, plus unspecified damages for emotional distress and pain and suffering…

     Coyne, a vegan and animal rights activist, was the advisor for the school's Compassion in Action Club, an animal advocacy organization, during her decade at Newport Harbor High School. The lawsuit, filed on September 9, 2014, claims that students had complained to Coyne for years about animal dissection in science and anatomy classes.

     In September 2011, then Principal Michael Vossen sent an email to the school staff that mentioned cat dissections being "a necessary skill in preparing our future surgeons." [What an idiotic rationale for the classroom cutting up of cats.] The principal accused Coyne of rallying her students against dissection.

     In May 2012, Coyne was informed that her teaching schedule had changed for the upcoming school year and that she would not longer have time to advise the student club. She also was directed by district staff to stop discussing the dissection issue….

"Orange County Teacher Opposed to Cat Dissections Sues School," Los Angeles Times, September 19, 2014 

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