A Florida teacher is being investigated after students reported he drowned wild raccoons in a trash can during one of his classes.
The incident went down at Forest High School in Ocala during an agricultural science class on Monday, as reported by local media WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando. It’s believed that two raccoons and an opossum were killed in a “hands-on” lesson in land management because the animals had eaten a chicken that the class was raising for a project.
Footage of the lesson was captured on a smartphone, despite the teacher reportedly requesting students to not film it, showing the raccoon in a metal wire trap being dunked and held down in a garbage can full of water.
“It made me sick. It made me sick to my stomach. It's terrible. It still does make me sick to my stomach," a mother of one of the students in the class told WKMG-TV. She added that her son came home in tears after experiencing the lesson.
"When the raccoons tried to come up for air they had metal rods and they held them down with metal rods and when the raccoon would try to pop its head up they held water hoses in its face to drown it," she added.
As for the response from the public, people appear to be divided on the issue. Some people on social media have jumped to the teacher's defense, arguing that exterminating “pests” is a totally acceptable and legal agricultural practice. On the flip side, some have pointed out that drowning raccoons in cages is not the most legitimate or cruelty-free method of killing a pest. Many others are simply shocked at the video, describing the act as “torture” and “beyond animal cruelty.”
Former students of the school have also defended the teacher's action. On the Forest High School FFA Alumni page, they described him as “a man who would give everything he had to make sure that his children/students are taken care of”.
The teacher was placed on paid administrative leave the day after the complaint, but the county's Superintendent is calling for tougher action, recommending that the teacher is fired. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and The Florida Department of Health are also investigating the incident to assess whether the teacher has broken any laws.
In other recent news of bizarre and ethically-dubious school lessons, a teacher in Idaho was put under the spotlight after he allegedly fed a puppy to a snapping turtle in front of his students. What that was meant to be teaching is anyone's guess.