OCALA, Fla. (WFLA) – An Ocala high school teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave after cell phone video appears to show him drowning wild raccoons during class.
The video was shot by a student at Forest High School who was upset about what was happening.
The student went home and showed his mother the video. “It made me sick. It made me sick to my stomach. It’s terrible. It still does make me sick to my stomach,” the mother, who did not want to be identified, told WKMG.
She says her son, who is a freshman, was made to stand with his fellow classmates and drown two raccoons and a possum.
“One of the raccoons ate a chicken that they were raising so the teacher pinned the raccoons. Caught them in cages. Took the cages, filled up large trash cans full of water and had the children drown the raccoons in the cages inside the water. Inside the trash cans.”
Her son told her his agriculture teacher made a threat that anyone who recorded or photographed the incident would be given a referral.
“He knew while it was happening that it was wrong, so he did it anyway and stood behind people hiding, taking pictures and videos,” said the mother.
The teacher has worked at Forest High School since 2006. The Marion County School Board released the following statement about the incident:
“While law enforcement tells us the teacher may not have done anything illegal, his actions before students are certainly questionable.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating the way the raccoons were killed. The commission’s findings will be sent to prosecutors, who will determine if the teacher will face charges.