Feeding time for the class pet at an Idaho junior high school has resulted in a school district investigation and a police report by a local animal rights activist.
Activist and parent Jill Parrish told a Fox affiliate that she had filed a police report after a teacher at Preston Junior High in Preston, Idaho, notified her that a science teacher is alleged to have fed a puppy to his class’s pet snapping turtle. Reports vary, but it is believed that the puppy may have been alive but sickly, and possibly, according to one parent, “deformed.”
“I’m not going to let this get swept under the rug,” Parrish said, calling the incident “sick” and “disgusting.”
“Allowing children to watch an innocent baby puppy scream because it is being fed to an animal — that is violence,” she added. “That is not okay.”
East Idaho News reports that the Preston School District has confirmed it is looking into the “regrettable circumstance involving some of the biological specimens.”
A statement from superintendent Marc Gee downplayed the situation, referring to “the years of care, effort, and passion the teacher has given to students.” The science teacher has been identified as Robert Crosland, who students have described as popular.
“The event occurred well after students had been dismissed and was not a part of any school-directed program,” the statement reads. “We emphasize that at no time was the safety of students or staff compromised.
“District administration was made aware of the issue soon after it occurred and immediately began the process of investigation and taking steps to ensure that this type of action could not be repeated. A part of any investigation includes determining the best course of action once the facts of the matter have been ascertained. This is not a situation that is easy, nor do we feel it is a measure that can be taken lightly. As such we ask for patience while appropriate measures are determined and carried out.
“Additional details cannot be shared at this time as the local law enforcement agency is in the process of gathering information.
“While the district certainly does not condone individual actions that may violate district policy or reasonable expectations of behavior, we hope that any errors in judgement made by a teacher in this instance will not cause us to forget the years of care, effort, and passion the teacher has given to students in Preston School District.”
Crosland is not on administrative leave. Former students told East Idaho News that he had fed guinea pigs to the snapping turtle in the past. Though the incident is said to have happened outside of school hours, some students were reportedly present when the puppy was eaten.
It’s now up to Franklin County’s police department and local prosecutors to determine whether a crime was committed. Meanwhile, Crosland has the support of many teachers and students.
“I feel a little bit better that it was a puppy that was going to die, not just a healthy puppy,” one seventh-grader told Fox 13.
“If it was a deformed puppy that was going to die anyway, Cros[land] is very much circle of life,” parent Annette Salveson added. “If you’re not fine with it, leave the room.”
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