Science teacher Robert Crosland is well respected at the Idaho junior high school where he has taught for years.
The biology teacher is known for keeping animals like snakes and turtles inside his Preston Junior High classroom, which has long been a hit with his pupils.
One former student told East Idaho News:
“He is a cool teacher who really brought science to life. I loved his class because he had turtles and snakes and other cool things.”
But now, Crosland is in hot water for his alleged decision to give one of his turtles a controversial meal.
According to CBS News, the biology teacher allegedly fed a puppy to a snapping turtle in the classroom while students were present.
Police have not confirmed whether the puppy was alive or dead at the time of the feeding, but Fox 13 reports that teachers could hear the puppy “screaming” from across the school.
Parent and former student of Crosland, Jill Parish, was furious when she heard about the incident. She told Fox 13:
“Allowing students to watch an innocent baby puppy scream because it is being fed to an animal. That is violence. That is not okay.”
Parish said that when she was student, Crosland would offer students extra credit to bring in animals he could feed to his reptiles. It’s unclear where this particular puppy came from.
According to Heavy, students and community members have spoken out in Crosland’s defense.
A local woman named Jacee Hammons claims that Crosland only fed the puppy to the turtle in front of three students, two of whom are her brothers.
She wrote on Facebook that Crosland drowned the puppy beforehand and that it was sick:
He explained to the three students that were in the class that drowning is one of the most humane ways for something to pass away… People think that his puppy was healthy and happy, but it was dying and starving. I feel Crosland did the right thing with the puppy, and he has my full support.
Local police are currently investigating the incident to determine if any laws were broken. Crosland has not been placed on administrative leave and is still working at the school.
The feeding occurred after regular school hours, Fox 13 reports.