A Forest High School agriculture teacher, Dewie Brewton, was placed on paid administrative leave after he allegedly drowned three caged “nuisance” animals as part of a classroom demonstration.
An employee at the high school captured two raccoons and an opossum that had been suspected of endangering the chickens being raised by the students in the class. The teacher allegedly filled a large garbage bin with water and submerged the trapped animals. The students gathered around the bin to watch, and assist, as the penned animals drowned.
The agriculture teacher warned any students that taking photographs or videos of the event would be punished with a referral, indicating that the teacher knew that was, at the very least, displaying questionable teaching methods.
A high school freshman, bothered by the activity, made the choice to record the horrific display with his cell phone. When the student arrived home, he showed the video to his mother who had the following to say to WKMG-TV about Ocala teacher Dewey Brewton and that day’s agriculture class activities.
“It made me sick. It made me sick to my stomach. It’s terrible. It still does make me sick to my stomach.”
The school board made a public statement letting the district know that, although the authorities indicate the teacher may not have broken any laws, “his actions before students are certainly questionable.”
WMUR reported, the mother of the student recalled the events of the full video, claiming that when the raccoons attempted to come to the surface of the water to breathe, the students and teacher used metal rods to hold down the animals. In addition to holding down the drowning raccoons, the students and their instructor would use water hoses to spray the raccoons and opossum in the face in an effort to speed the drowning process.
Although killing raccoons and opossums is not technically against the law, authorities have launched a full-scale investigation into the way in which the animals were killed in this instance.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) responded to the teacher’s actions in a statement saying that they are “looking into an incident that occurred at Forest High School in Marion County involving a raccoon.”
The FFWCC included that its officers take these matters very seriously and are working hard to “determine the legality of what occurred.”
Dewie Brewton, who has been a teacher at Forest High School since 2006, has majority support from his students who are rallying together in his defense. Brewton has been suspended and will remain on a paid administrative leave until the investigation is complete.