An investigation is underway after an Idaho teacher allegedly fed a puppy to the class snapping turtle in a story that has all of the makings of a childhood nightmare.
Robert Crosland, a science teacher at Preston Junior High School, is accused of the incident and is currently under investigation for conducting the experiment on March 7 after school, according to the New York Daily News.
Law enforcement sources familiar with the situation revealed that Crosland fed a puppy to a snapping turtle in front of students, which was alive but reportedly sick when the incident occurred after school hours, according to East Idaho News. Some students witnessed the feeding and administrators began an investigation into the incident immediately after learning of "a regrettable circumstance involving some of the biological specimens," according to a news release from Preston School District 201 Superintendent Marc Gee.
"The event occurred well after students had been dismissed and was not a part of any school-directed program," Gee said in the news release. "We emphasize that at no time was the safety of students or staff compromised."
Crosland is described as a popular teacher who has exotic snakes and other animals in tanks around his classroom, according to students and parents who spoke with East Idaho News.
"He is a cool teacher who really brought science to life," a former student said. "I loved his class because he had turtles and snakes and other cool things."
Former students have said that they recall Crosland feeding Guinea pigs to snakes and snapping turtles during classroom demonstrations. However, Gee is not taking these latest accusations lightly.
"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," Gee said. "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 judgment 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."
A police report has been filed by local animal activist Jill Parrish, according to Fox 13 Salt Lake City.
"What I have learned in the last four days is disgusting. It is sick. It is sick," Parrish said. ""Allowing children to watch an innocent baby puppy scream because it is being fed to an animal. That is violence. That is not okay."
Meanwhile, some parents are not stressing the incident.
"If it was a deformed puppy that was going to die anyway, Cros[land] is very much circle of life," Annette Salvesen said.
"He’s the best science teacher Preston Junior High has," Julie Johnson echoed.
The Franklin County Sheriff's department is looking into the incident.
"We’re investigating the facts and turning it over to the prosecutor," sheriff David Fryar said. "He’s the one who will determine if the law has been broken."
Currently, Gee said that Crosland has not been cited or charged and has not been placed on leave. He asks for patience while the investigation is underway and the district takes steps to ensure that "this type of action could not be repeated."
[Photo: Preston School District 201]