An agriculture teacher in Marion County, Florida is on paid administrative leave as Forest High School investigates a video that appears to show him drowning raccoons with the help of his students.
The video, which shows cages submerged in trash cans filled with water and student participation, resulted in Dewie Brewton‘s leave on Tuesday.
One parent said her son recorded the video, brought it home, showed it to her and she was “disgusted” by what she saw.
“I was disgusted. At first, I was in shock, of course, but I watched the video, and it’s horrific. It’s disgusting, and I can’t believe it happened at school,” she told Fox 35. She also said that her son “hid his phone and watched as they filled these trash cans full of water, and held these raccoons down in trash cans in the cages.”
ClickOrlando also spoke to a parent who said her son came home in tears over the incident. The student said Brewton explained that the raccoons killed chickens the class was raising.
“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 said of the drownings. “When the raccoons tried to come up for air they had metal rods and they held them down with metal rods and when the raccoon would try to pop its head up they held water hoses in its face to drown it.”
Marion County School District spokesman Kevin Christian announced that Brewton was put on leave amid reports that he drowned the animals. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is also looking into whether something illegal occurred.
Interestingly, as the Miami Herald noted, alumni members of the Facebook group Forest High School Future Farmers of America (Forest High School FFA Alumni) spoke out in support of Brewton as a dedicated teacher and warned that the media would escalate this story unnecessarily.
On behalf of the Forest High School FFA Alumni Chapter we would like to speak out about the actions that took place…
Many people who commented on the post expressed similar thoughts.
One said Brewton is one of the greatest people he knows.
“For all you that don’t know the man he is such a great person as one of his students I can personally at that he has gone above and beyond for not only me but to anyone that has ever come up to him and asked for his help. He has not only help me become a better person but he had also helped me with my schooling and many other life lessons,” Cole Swarbrick wrote. You guys that are hating on him and don’t even know him can get outta her with that you can’t judge a man by his mistakes. Everyone of you have made mistakes this is one of his. Mr. Brewton was one of the greatest men I know and I looked up to him and I will aways look up to him he is a great man.”
Another said this is what farmers do when their animals are threatened by predators.
“He did no harm he did what a farmer would do protect his animals. MR DEWIE BREWTON ALL THE WAY,” Georgette Schonnman added.
A third commenter said Brewton is irreplaceable.
“Mr. Brewton is one of the greatest men I have met in my entire life I have only had him for this freshman year but I have already learned so much from him. I think that everyone makes mistakes on a daily basis and he should not be fired because of one mistake out of the 12 Year’s he has worked at forest. No teacher could ever replace him,” said Hunter Heath.
[Image via WKMG screengrab]