A longtime junior high school biology teacher in Idaho is under investigation following what the Preston School District is saying was a “regrettable” use of biological specimens last week, Superintendent Marc Gee said Monday.
The incident occurred after school on March 7.
Both the school district and sheriff’s office are investigating. The sheriff’s investigation was triggered by a complaint of animal cruelty, Gee said.
Franklin County Sheriff Dave Fryar was out of the office Monday morning and could not be reached for comment. The sheriff’s office has an SRO at the school, a spokeswoman for the department said.
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Preston is about 300 miles east of Boise. There are 605 students in grades six to eight at Preston Junior High.
Gee is unsure how many students were present at the time the incident occurred. He said the principal was made aware immediately after, and district officials were then notified.
Gee declined to address rumors on social media that a teacher fed a live puppy to a snapping turtle. He would not discuss the animals involved, other than to say it happened during an after-school feeding.
“School was out for the day. It wasn’t part of any of our classes,” Gee said.
It’s not uncommon for biology classes to have live animals. At no time during the incident was the safety of students or staff at compromised, the district says.
The name of the teacher involved in this incident was not released. The teacher is still in the classroom, not on leave, pending the outcome of the school investigation.
In a press release, the school district asked for the public’s patience:
“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 judgment 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 the students of the Preston School District.”