IMO, empathy can't be taught. It develops as a sign of maturity, after something is shown enough weight or value for us to actually care about it (why care about baby elephants in the circus, ie.; I can see how it sucks, but I don't care about it any less than say... children starving in africa, or whatever - I don't have any better examples here, but you see my point).
You can't be compassionate without understanding first, and that isn't simply being told continuously that something is 'bad' or being traumatized. Not to mention footage of dead gorillas won't look like much unless you understand what you're being shown (I can't remember how many times I've seen comments on youtube declaring a video to be 'fake'). Truth is, real life footage doesn't look horrible when shown vicariously. The initial reaction to seeing civilians gunned down by a helicopter in afghanistan on wikileaks is always just 'huh, well that happened - yeah... oh jeeze, that sucks; okay I'm depressed now, thanks for showing that video mr. presenter'. I'm not saying that you need to experience the horror first hand - but something like a dramatic movie might help to first assimilate some of the idea of it. At an age where you have trouble pronouncing the word the word 'manipulate', let alone comprehending everything that goes on in a dramatic movie like 'Sometimes in April' - then you shouldn't be forced to engage in these sorta school activities.
What are your views?