In its most simple definition, a teacher is one whose occupation it is to teach or instruct.
But there is nothing simple about being a teacher; a provider of knowledge and insight; a mentor; a motivator; or any of the other many ways to describe someone who dedicates themselves to this important, respected, and admired profession.
From pre-school to high school, teachers, after parents, are among of the most important and influential people readying youth for adulthood. They teach far more than reading, writing, arithmetic, and science.
Sadly, at Preston Jr. High School, approximately 300 miles east of Boise, Idaho, one biology teacher failed miserably in the eyes of animal advocates everywhere.
Horrifically, it was recently revealed that on March 7th of last week middle-school teacher Robert Crosland allegedly fed a live puppy to a snapping turtle while some of his students were present; a horrific occurrence that in an official statement the Preston School District described as a “regrettable circumstance.”
“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,” the school district claimed in the release. “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.”
While noting that the situation should not be taken lightly, the school district requested that the public be patient while “appropriate measures are determined and carried out.”
It is the request made next that is perhaps most shocking.
“While the district certainly does not condone individual actions that may violate district policy or reasonable expectations of behavior,” the district noted, “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.”
Errors in judgment? This is way more serious than an error in judgment. This is criminal.
Perhaps what the district should be thinking about now is not the past but the future of the students who witnessed this extreme case of animal cruelty or even heard about it second hand. What lesson did it instill in them? That lack of regard for an animal’s life is acceptable, or even worse, the norm? That animal cruelty and abuse are condoned by people they look up to and trust?
The puppy was allegedly sick. That is their defense? That makes it okay?
The answer is a resounding NO!
Local animal activist Jill Parrish, who filed the police report, agrees.
“What I have learned in the last four days is disgusting. It is sick. It is sick,” Preston told KSTU News. “Allowing children to watch an innocent baby puppy scream because it is being fed to an animal. That is violence. That is not OK.”
In an opinion piece for the Preston County News newspaper where he works as an editor, Joseph Hauger explained how he first found out about the incident which he believed to be false at the time.
After receiving his second notification from Facebook Instant Messanger, and a click, Hauger wrote that this is what he found:
“This is (teacher’s name omitted.) He is a teacher at Preston Jr. High in Preston, Idaho. Some pretty disturbing things have come to light about him. A few days ago, he fed a live puppy to his snapping turtle. He tried to feed it to his snake first, but the snake wouldn’t eat it, so it went to the turtle. He did this in the school in the presence of students. This is a common practice for him. He offers students extra credit for bringing in live animals for feedings. Puppies, kittens and bunnies have all be used.”
If that was the case, who brought the puppy to the classroom and how was this even allowed to happen, again? How can this be legal?
Though only allegations at this point, they are serious and need to be addressed.
Until then, it does not seem appropriate for Crosland, regardless of how popular he is or how long he has worked at the school, to remain in the classroom. He should be placed on temporary leave. If found guilty, he should be charged with the crime and justice should be served.
He and animal abusers everywhere need to learn the lesson once and for all that animal cruelty and animal abuse is never okay. The lives of animals matter as do the lives of humans. We are all sentient beings who feel terror, pain, and sadness among many other emotions.
Imagine what that poor crying puppy was feeling as Crosland first tried to feed him to a snake before tragically feeding him to a live reptile.
Heartbreaking and excruciatingly painful to even think about!
He is educated but seems to be in need of a crash course on who people that hurt animals are inclined to abuse next.
This is sad, troubling, and terrifying on so many levels.