PETA protest catches Metro school officials off guard

Monday, January 4, 2010 at 9:45pm

Animal rights advocates have arranged for a person in a bandaged, bloody elephant costume to greet Buena Vista Enhanced Option School students Tuesday afternoon as they depart for the day, a demonstration that’s caught school administrators off guard.

Hoping to raise awareness of the alleged mistreatment of elephants by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — better known as PETA — is taking their case to an audience of children, with a costumed “Ellie the Elephant” staging a 3:35 p.m. demonstration outside the north Nashville elementary school where it plans to talk with students and distribute activity booklets.

The mascot’s staging is meant to coincide with the circus outfit’s series of shows scheduled later this month at the Sommet Center.

“Ellie’s very friendly,” said PETA representative Kate Brindle. “It’s not meant to threaten the kids whatsoever. She basically just kind of waves at the kids. We also hand out activity books that take an upbeat approach and lets kids know about the cruelty and violence that goes on behind the scenes at a circus.”

But Metro Nashville Public Schools spokesperson Noelle Mashburn said school administrators were not informed of the plans and didn’t know about the demonstration until being notified by media outlets.

“We didn’t know about it. The principal didn’t know about it. Nobody knew anything about it,” Mashburn said. “District policy is that no political campaigns of any sort are allowed on school grounds. So if they were planning on showing up there tomorrow, they will not be allowed on school property.”

Brindle said it’s PETA policy is to comply with the law, and the plan is to have the elephant stand on a public sidewalk.

14 Comments on this post:

By: elevate1 on 1/5/10 at 12:28

Nobody has the right to talk to someone's child without the parent's permission..PETA needs to take this up with the parent's..not the children--I would be livid if someone confronted my child after school on their way home with their opinions..especially an adult..without my permission..period

By: house_of_pain on 1/5/10 at 6:05

"...it's PETA policy to comply with the law..."
Since when?

By: midlifcrisis on 1/5/10 at 8:42

Isn't it animal cruelty to have the animal outside in these temperatures?

By: HighlyAnnoyed on 1/5/10 at 8:59

Doesn't PETA realize that only trailer trash take their kids to the circus. Theses are the same people that tie up dogs in their backyard and let them freeze to death. That being said, they need to leave the children alone. This tactic is the same one cults such as christianity use to try to indoctrinate children.

By: localboy on 1/5/10 at 9:03

You go, PETA - you so relevant...

By: i.am.a.taxpayer on 1/5/10 at 9:31

Children and adults should know the suffering created to entertain them. I stopped going to circuses many years ago when I found about how the animals are treated.

By: sidneyames on 1/5/10 at 10:44

And what about ethical treatment of children? PETA has no right and if I had a child and they subjected my child to bringing out an elephant on a 4 degree windchill day and scared my child, I'd sue their stupid tofu eating butts.

This tactic is the same one cults such as christianity use to try to indoctrinate children.I agree with you highly annoyed.

I disagree with you that only "trailer trash" take their kids to the circus and such activities. And I've seen some high end mucky mucky people put their dogs out. I never lived in a trailer and I've gone to the circus. Plus my 65 lb lab loves it outside today; Of course his 2-story cedar dog house is lined with R26 insulation and he's got a double igloo inside the dog house with a warm bed to boot. He also has, provided to him free from nature, a coat thicker than any I've been able to buy for me.

So all dogs don't hate being out today. I do watch him and let him come in when he wants to. And his inside house has a $149.00 down comforter in it. So don't be so mean to the trailer trash as you call lesser fortunate people.

By: morpheus120 on 1/5/10 at 10:53

Kind of an annoying tactic by PETA, but two things need to be addressed:

Was their action being done ON SCHOOL PROPERTY or across the street in the public right of way? Because if they weren't on school property, the school has no say so in this matter. That doesn't mean that PETA didn't violate some law for not securing a permit or something, but if their demonstration didn't actually happen on school grounds, they have to grin and bear it. As do the students, faculty, and parents.

Second, I take issue with what the MNPS rep said: "District policy is that no political campaigns of any sort are allowed on school grounds." What PETA did was not campaigning. The policy Mashburn talks about has to with electioneering, not protesting or demonstrations - those are protected by the First Amendment. Assuming of course that PETA was not on school property or, if they were, that they had permission.

Again, it might have been a clumsy and ill-conceived choice for a demonstration, but that has nothing to do with whether they did anything illegal or violated district policy.

By: sidneyames on 1/5/10 at 11:42

Hey Peta, my dog needs to poop. Should I leave him inside where it's warm; let him go, and then punish him? Or should I punish him by sending him to the back yard where it' 6 degrees outside and let his paws freeze to the ground?

Peta, you need to get a life and trapse after child abusers. They, the children, are more important that pets. Or elephants. Get real. You make me want to stop eating veggies. And I'm serious. If you talked to my child in any way, I'd sue you.

Forgive my political incorrect behavior. I'm sure you have an organization to deal with me.

By: localboy on 1/5/10 at 2:10

talk about making a mountain out of a molehill...whoops, I guess that too would involve PETA...

By: WayneJ on 1/5/10 at 3:21

Where was PETA September 13, 1916 when they might have made a difference?
See "http://www.blueridgecountry.com/archive/mary-the-elephant.html" if you want some genuine cruelty. (Warning: This is an article about the Erwin, TN elephant hanging complete with the controversial photo - expect the worst).

Ringling tries to take care of their animals although I don't particularly care for the way they have to be transported show-to-show and to that end I'm not a big circus person either - and they have set aside a large tract for their retiring elephants - more than any zoo can do.

Looks like a publicity stunt and little more.

By: sidneyames on 1/5/10 at 5:31

Where was Peta when the pit bulls froze to death in clarksville this past week end.

By: SirKnight on 1/5/10 at 7:17

midlifecrisis and morpheus, please read the story again. The story is about PETA's plans to speak to the children after school today. Not after it had already been done. The story clearly states in the very first sentence "Animal rights advocates have arranged for a person in a bandaged, bloody elephant costume to greet ... students Tuesday afternoon..." They were not planning to bring a REAL live elephant to the school. Geeez!!!

I agree with everyone else above. These idiots have no business hanging out on/off school property to try to engage children who are on their way home. It puts them in danger of being distracted and possibly getting picked up by possible pedophiles and child abusers. Just leave them alone! I have no problem getting permission to put on a show demonstrating your points to the kids if it is educational and entertaining. But then I would have problems if it might scare the kids in an unnecessarily.

By: Dragon on 1/5/10 at 8:29

"a bandaged, bloody elephant"

That poor elephant. Someone put it out of its misery. At least tranquilize it and take it to Howenwald.