People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will stage a protest against Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus at an elementary school in Lafayette Tuesday, according to a spokesman.

The animal-rights group says it will be at Myrtle Place Elementary School at 2:45 p.m. — minutes before the bell rings releasing students for the day — with a protester in an elephant suit sporting a “bloody” bandage around her head. Ellie, as the plush pachyderm is called, will hand out activity books and explain to students “that animals used by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus are jabbed with spiked, metal bull hooks and beaten to make them perform difficult tricks that are confusing and sometimes painful to them.”

The Ringling circus is scheduled to perform at the Cajundome April 16 and 17. Lafayette Police spokesman Cpl. Paul Mouton says his department is aware of the peaceful protest, noting officers will be on hand to monitor the event. PETA was not required to obtain a permit “as long as they don’t block the sidewalk or cause a hazard or anything,” Mouton says.

PETA has long been a nemesis of America’s premier circus. The group has a Web site, RinglingBeatsAnimals.com, that contains photographs and videos purportedly taken at Ringling’s Florida headquarters showing the mistreatment of elephants.

“If children knew how animals suffer behind the scenes, their smiles would quickly turn to frowns,” PETA Director Debbie Leahy says in a press release.

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