MARION COUNTY, Fla. – Marion County Public Schools Superintendent Heidi Maier slammed the actions of a high school teacher who is accused of making students kill raccoons and recommended the district fire him.
A Forest High School agriculture science teacher was placed on leave Tuesday afternoon after a parent said her son came home in tears over what happened to the raccoons, which, the teacher said had been killing the class's chickens.
Pictures and video recorded by a student show a raccoon in a metal wire trap, which the teacher and students then lifted into a garbage bin while they filled the bin with water from several hoses.
News 6 is not naming the teacher because he has not officially been charged.
Maier said the school district is "appalled" by the actions of the teacher.
"Marion County’s education standards – in fact, Florida’s education standards -- do not include activities for the destruction of live animals, nuisance or not," the district said in a statement.
A spokesman from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the agency is investigating the way in which the raccoons were killed. The findings of that investigation will be presented to officials with the state attorney's office, who will then decide if criminal charges are appropriate in this case.
The Florida Department of Health is also investigating the incident.
Despite the ongoing Department of Health and FWC investigations, Maier is recommending termination, district officials said.
Forest High School's FAA alumni on Wednesday posted their support for the teacher on Facebook.
"We would like to say that we are 100% behind our advisor and everything he does for our children/students," the statement read in part. "This is a man who would give everything he had to make sure that his children/students are taken care of. He has always gone above and beyond his call of duty to ensure that his students had everything they needed."
Multiple online petitions calling for the teacher's resignation have drawn almost 40,000 signatures in support on Charnge.org and Care2.com.