NEWPORT BEACH (CBS) — Students have been disciplined at an Orange County high school after some disturbing photos were posted online.

One of the students uploaded photos of classmates at Newport Harbor High School playing around with dead cats that they were dissecting in a biology class.

The incident has caused an uproar on campus and been chastised by a national animal rights group.

“There was a cat with a severed head, there was a picture with a cat with its skin flapped open and the kids were joking the cat looked like Superman,” according to Karen Coyne, who teaches English at the school and heads a campus group supporting compassion for animals.

When some students complained to her that others were decapitating cats’ heads in science class, even leaving one in a school locker, Coyne alerted the principal.

“What’s not to say…this kind of behavior isn’t happening more often and just not being posted on Facebook,” Coyne said.

The photos posted were so explicit CBS2 was unable to show them.

Dozens of people have already commented on the photos.

One person wrote, “Did you do the stray cat strut?”

Another person wrote, “Indeed I did who says science isn’t fun?”

Some people expressed compassion and shock: “Omg they make you dissect a cat?

Now, a national physicians group that opposes animal dissections in schools is calling on Newport Mesa Unified School District to stop dissecting cats in science class. The Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine also wants the students and teacher involved to undergo counseling.

“It is a gross mistake to simply write off such behavior as childish pranks. To the extent that this behavior is tolerated or encouraged, it may escalate or encourage similar behavior in others, particularly since it has been posted on social media that may be accessed by anyone,” the animal rights group said in a statement.

In a statement, the Newport Unified School District responded: “The Newport Harbor High principal took swift action on this incident and the students involved have been counseled and received disciplinary action as appropriate.”

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