Earlier this year, Pet Assistance Foundation hosted a meeting of humane educators from three Southern California counties to discuss forwarding statewide K-12 humane education. After three productive hours spent sharing information, experiences, observations and ideas, participants were inspired and reluctant to leave. PAF was encouraged by the level of interest, and is accessing and evaluating resources from Academy of Prosocial Learning, HEART (Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers), Institute for Humane Education, Maddie’s Fund, and Red Rover.
Background: In May of 2016, the California Legislature adopted House Resolution-28, which confirms support of Sections 233.5 (part of the Hate Violence Prevention Act) and Section 60042 of the Education Code and their requirement of instruction in the human treatment of animals in K-12 education. The resolution states many sound reasons for this action, including recognition of the correlation between childhood animal cruelty and interpersonal violence in adulthood; the goal of humane education to develop caring, responsible citizens by teaching empathy, compassion, and respect for all living beings; and the chance to reduce the suffering of both wild and domestic animals by addressing deficiencies in children’s understanding of the role of animals in nature and people’s lives.
Additionally, a key factor in the legislation’s decision to bring attention to humane education was the existence of reputable nonprofit organizations “working to implement humane education programs through in-classroom presentations, teacher training, and the provision of relevant resources, and [that] these organizations could assist California schools in complying with the Educations Code’s humane education provisions without burdening school budgets”.
Currently, teachers are not given any specific guidelines or lesson plans when designing a Humane Education program. PAF has long seen a need, and now sees increased opportunity, to assist our community in addressing the need for engaging and inspiring human education in our schools.
Wendy Aragon, President, Pet Assistance Foundation
Robert J. Aragon, Chairman, Pet Assistance Foundation
Judith Crumpton, Humane Educator, Long Beach
Leslie Davies, Humane Educator, Spay Neuter Action Project, San Diego
Betsy Denhart, Director of Communications and Special Projects, Pet Assistance Foundation
Mary Finley, former South Bay Branch Chair, Pet Assistance Foundation
Lynn Hildebrand, Humane Educator, Humane Society of San Bernardino Valley
Pictured above: Meeting attendees display painted stars from Stars of Hope, reflecting the power and promise of humane education: hope, strength, respect, critical thought, compassion and empathy. L. to R., Mary Finley, Leslie Davies, Betsy Denhart, Wendy Aragon, Judith Crumpton, Lynn Hildebrand.