PRESTON, Idaho -- Authorities in Idaho are investigating a report of a junior high teacher feeding a live puppy to one of his classroom reptiles in front of students.
According to a statement from the school district, the incident occurred after students had been dismissed.
CNN affiliate KSTU cited an animal activist, who said the puppy was sick. But the activist, who is also a parent, says the puppy's condition was no excuse for feeding it to a reptile.
"What I have learned in the last four days is disgusting," parent Jill Parrish said. "It is sick. It is sick."
Parrish is the one who filed a police report after hearing about an incident involving Preston Junior High School science teacher Robert Crosland.
A teacher told her that last week after school, Crosland fed a live puppy that was reportedly sick to a snapping turtle. And 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," Parrish said. "That is not OK."
Este Hull is a seventh grader at the school.
"I've only heard him feed, like, mice or birds to his animals," Hull said. "I feel a little bit better that it was a puppy that was going to die, not just a healthy puppy."
That sentiment was echoed by some parents.
"If it was a deformed puppy and it was going to die anyway, (it) is very much circle of life," parent Annette Salvesen said.
Others stood by the teacher.
"He's the best science teacher Preston Junior High has," parent Julie Johnson said.
Franklin County Sheriff David Fryar said the department is looking into it.
"We're investigating the facts and turning it over to the prosecutor," he said. "He's the one who will determine if the law has been broken."
The superintendent said Crossland is still employed, and while the incident is under investigation, he's not been placed on administrative leave.
Even if the puppy was going to die, though, Parrish doesn't think this was the way to do it.
"There's a lot of humane things you can do," she said. "Feeding a live animal to a reptile is not humane, and it's not OK."
But 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," Salvesen.
In its statement, the school district referred to the incident as "regrettable," specifying that it was not part of any school-directed program. The district says it is taking measures to ensure that no similar incidents occur in the future.
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