The Surrey School District is investigating at Elgin Park Secondary, following an anonymous complaint that one of the school’s teachers made students watch a graphic documentary that includes videos of kittens being suffocated.
District spokesperson Ritinder Matthews confirmed Wednesday that a letter was received Monday.
“A parent cited some concern that an inappropriate documentary was shown to students, or to their child,” Matthews told Peace Arch News.
“We’re currently investigating to get a better understanding of what actually happened.”
The letter, shared on Twitter by Vancouver news media, was addressed to district Supt. Jordan Tinney and dated Dec. 23. The writer claims their child came home from school traumatized after being made to watch Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer, a three-part series about convicted killer Luka Magnotta.
Magnotta is serving a life sentence for the brutal 2012 murder and dismemberment – which he videotaped – of an international computer-engineering student, whose hands and feet he then mailed to schools and federal political party offices.
“Children were shocked and horrified at what they were forced to watch,” the letter to the school district states.
The letter-writer’s own child came home “crying and upset to the point of… vomiting,” the writer claims.
Matthews said teachers use discretion when preparing lesson plans and related content, and some will send a letter home or seek advice from a principal if they are concerned that the material “could be controversial or concerning for parents.”
She could not confirm by PAN’s press deadline Wednesday if the district requires that step of teachers.
Asked when the district expected to have results of its investigation, Matthews said due to confidentiality, “we wouldn’t be sharing anything further than this.”
If the complaint was deemed to be false, however, that would be shared, she said.