School Closings And Delays

Teacher Accused of Feeding Puppy to Snapping Turtle in Front of Students

PRESTON, Idaho - A school district in Idaho is investigating an incident that took place last week in which a science teacher allegedly fed a live puppy to one of his reptiles in front of students.

Local animal activist Jill Parrish is the one who filed the police report.

"What I have learned in the last four days is disgusting. It is sick. It is sick," Parrish told KSTU.

Parrish says a teacher at Preston Junior High told her that last week after school Robert Crosland fed a live puppy, who was reportedly sick, to one of his reptiles. He has a snake and a snapping turtle. Apparently, it all happened in front of students.

"Allowing children to watch an innocent baby puppy scream because it is being fed to an animal. That is violence. That is not okay," says Parrish.

Este Hull is a 7th-grade student at Preston Junior High.

"I've only heard him feed like mice or birds to his animals...I feel a little bit better that it was a puppy that was going to die, not just a healthy puppy," says Hull.

It's a sentiment echoed by parents Annette Salvesen and Julie Johnson.

"If it was a deformed puppy that was going to die anyway, Cros[land] is very much circle of life," says Salveson.

"He’s the best science teacher Preston Junior High has," said Johnson.

Franklin County Sheriff David Fryar says the department is looking into it.

"We’re investigating the facts and turning it over to the prosecutor. He’s the one who will determine if the law has been broken," says Fryar.

Preston School District Superintendent Mark Gee says Mr. Crossland is still employed at Preston Junior High and while the incident is under investigation, he’s not been placed on administrative leave.

Even if the puppy was going to die, Parrish doesn't think this was the way to do it.

"There’s a lot of humane things you can do. Feeding a live animal to a reptile is not humane and it's not okay," said Parrish.

However, other parents say it's just a hands-on way to teach the circle of life.

"If you’re not fine with it, leave the room," says Salvesen.

Idaho's Preston School District sent KSTU this statement:

On March 7, 2018 Preston School District was made aware of a regrettable circumstance involving some of the biological specimens at Preston Jr. High.  The event occurred well after students had been dismissed and was not a part of any school directed program.  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.

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  • Mike Clark

    Did none of you people read the entire article? ” The event occurred well after students had been dismissed and was not a part of any school directed program. We emphasize that at no time was the safety of students or staff compromised.” This was submitted as part of the FACTS in the case.

  • Lydia Holloway

    Um… I grew up in a science classroom. My father is a science teacher, and we kept a lot of reptiles. While there are snakes who can only be fed live food or they will reject it, there is no reason to feed a live, breathing animal to a snapping turtle. It doesn’t matter that the puppy was already sick or going to die. That is a terrible way to go, and it shouldn’t have happened, let alone in front of students.
    This isn’t teaching “the circle of life”. This is sadism.

  • Mary Sweda

    Horrible lack of judgement…who is this man? Such a lack of judgement or compassion for that helpless puppy…I would be horrified if my child were in this class…and for anyone who thinks that this was ok….you have issues as well…creepy should be taught compassion..this was not a film about what happens in the was planned and horrible…disgusting.

  • Christina Hooker

    I think people are missing the point here. And it’s sad that people are missing the point. You just don’t decide to feed a puppy to an animal in the classroom, it’s just not something you do. Especially if the poor thing was screaming in pain. Circle of life? To an extent. I’m worried, with the way children are these days, that they’re going to think it’s okay to just get any puppy or kitten or other smaller animal and just do what they like to it because “it’s going to die anyway.” On one hand you can watch documentaries where animals in the wild hunt and search for prey, which is what real education on the “circle of life” is about. Not just randomly feeding an animal to another in a cage. That just teaches children that yes, this animal does eat other animals, but it doesn’t show how they hunt, wait, ambush, attack, etc. So no, a live puppy (of all things) is not okay.

  • George A Stephens Jr

    just another example of the woosy mentality this country is developing, perhaps the teacher in question might have asked those squeamish to leave, but apparently everyone stayed and watched, with no issues, so whats the commotion all about, just another liberal jerk, from an animal rights movement with nothing to do with its life, except complain about the circle of life, does she call in every time a head of cabbage or tomato is cut up, after all plants have rights too, or how about how we murder all those defenseless bacteria on our toilet seats with chemical warfare, They have rights too. Just being sarcastic to show how ridiculous this persons argument is, if these kids can’t handle this they are in for a real surprise in real life