In February the Sled Dog Action Coalition — a group opposed to sled dog racing — sent a letter to a Portland, Oregon school in February complaining about a third and fourth-grade teacher’s curriculum which includes a section focusing on the Iditarod.
Cassandra Wilson teaches at Jesse Applegate Elementary School in Portland and was named Teacher on the Trail for 2003 by the Iditarod. The Teacher on the Trail is selected as a volunteer to spend 3 and a half weeks with the Jr. Iditarod. According to The Oregonian, Wilson “has used the Iditarod for several years to teach her students skills in math, writing, science and the creative arts.”
This angered the Sled Dog Action Coalition which maintains students are receiving a one-sided view of this “cruel” race. Margery Glickman of the Florida-based group told The Oregonian,
Here we have a teacher who is in the role of promoting the Iditarod. These lesson plans are not going to have what animal protection activists have to say.
Imagine that — a curriculum not driven by animal activists? Oh, the horrors.
All of this is not in the realm of what a good teacher should be. The teacher is a role model. A teacher who i a Teacher on the Trail is not fulfilling their obligations.
In fact, however, Wilson told The Oregonian that she did discuss with her students why some people and groups are opposed to the Iditarod, but
. . . Wilson said the enthusiasm she saw in her students outweighed the negative reaction she got from some groups.
“There’s way too much positive, way too much positive,” she said.
PETA, others say sled dog race is cruel. Abby Haight, The Oregonian, February 16, 2003.