By: Abby Schultz

HER giggling friends suddenly quiet down when Jamilka Carrasquillo, her large silver hoop earrings swinging, describes the day her class killed chickens.

“We actually had to go up to the woods to do it,” she says, perched on the back of a chair in a classroom at Common Ground High School in New Haven.

Each student who wanted one got a bird. Following a modified-kosher method (no rabbi), the students stunned the birds with an electric shock, hung them upside down and cut the jugular vein. They call the chickens “meat birds” to maintain emotional distance, but the experience can be difficult.

Jamilka cried; others, even teachers, did too. A lot emerged as vegetarians. Jamilka did not, but she says she came to understand that the pinkish slabs wrapped in plastic on the grocery shelf actually come from living animals. She pledged not to waste food.

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