3 Australian teens suspended, questioned by police after allegedly beating a kangaroo to death

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Three eighth-grade Australian students have been suspended from school and will be questioned by police after allegedly beating a kangaroo to death with a metal rod last week.

The students were immediately suspended after a teacher reported seeing the teenagers bashing the kangaroo while they were at a school camp, Torquay College principal Pam Kinsman said Friday.

"We are taking the matter extremely seriously. We are cooperating with police," Kinsman said.

She said the boys could be expelled or be assigned community work.

"If it's found they did the wrong thing, the community is going to be deeply upset," she said. "This is a school with high standards of respect for each other and the environment."

A police investigation was ongoing.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act stipulates maximum penalties of a 28,000 Australian dollar ($26,370) fine or two years' imprisonment, said Greg Boland of the animal welfare organization RSPCA.

"This is a concern to the RSPCA and must be a concern to society as well, and that's why there's got to be some intervention in relation to these juveniles so that this behavior is not repeated in any way," Boland said.

The students were part of a group on a three-day camping trip to a national park earlier this month.