This week Hebrew Academy hosted two baby bunnies who brought a smile to the faces of students and managed to get their owner suspended.
The unnamed senior, who was gifted the bunnies by a fellow student and her brother over the weekend, brought them to school in a cardboard box. Almost immediately, students flocked to see the furry friends.
“Honestly, I loved having them in our school,” said Sophie Gordon (12th). “I felt that they were very therapeutic. If I’m stressed or something was bothering me, I just went to the bunnies and all of the sudden I was happy.”
The bunnies’ owner, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she brought the animals, who are siblings and less than 3 weeks old, to conceal them from her mother.
“Truthfully, my housekeeper was at home and my mom doesn’t know I have the bunnies, so I didn’t want my housekeeper to tell my mom I have bunnies,” said the unnamed student.
Though most students had adorable encounters with the newborn bunnies, the bunnies managed to stay under the administration’s radar.
“Some teachers came to my office…and they informed us that there were farm animals in the building. The teachers came to notify us [because] they wanted to see if we were aware that there were bunnies in the school. We were not aware,” said Assistant Principal Rabbi Assaraf.
While some staff members worried that the animals’ presence violated school rules, others were concerned about the bunnies’ well-being.
“They are not toys. The other thing is these are infant bunnies and they don’t have any way of telling you that they don’t like something,” said science teacher Mrs. Zack. “We have to imagine– put yourself in the animal’s place, and what if I picked you up and you were tiny and I handed you to someone that was 20 times your size, then you got handed from person to person to person to person to person. That would be pretty traumatic.”
The administration acted swiftly when it came to delivering the consequences to the student who brought in the bunnies. The animals were confiscated at around 1:30 P.M. on Tuesday, hours after the student initially carried them into the building.
According to Assaraf, the bunnies were confiscated because the suspended student was unable to watch them while she waited for her ride. Assaraf also pointed out that the animals were not conducive to an academic atmosphere.
“We cannot have a learning environment; we cannot have a school that functions under normal circumstances when there are pets in classrooms. Students were sticking the bunnies in their hoodie pocket and passing them around in class. That is inappropriate,” Assaraf said.
The bunnies inspired students and faculty alike to consider the idea of a school pet, but Zack says it would need to be well thought out.
“Having animals in a biology classroom makes a lot of sense, but that’s not something that you can do casually,” Zack said. “That would take interested students to sit down and do very careful research, and consult with the person who would be likely to be taking care of it, i.e. the biology teacher.”
By: Lexi Sugar (12th Grade)