PRESTON, Idaho — A former student of a junior high school teacher accused of feeding a live puppy to a snapping turtle while students watched is coming to the teacher’s defense.
Levi Bodrero took Robert Crosland’s class in 1996.
“When you went to school, immediately you looked forward to Mr.Crosland’s class,” Bodrero said.
Bodrero remembers the class fondly and credits the embattled teacher with inspiring him to pursue a science degree.”
“As soon as I took his class, I loved science from then on forward,” Bodrero said. ““It was just one of those environments that was so addictive to look around and interact with those animals.”
Since this story erupted earlier in the week, the small town of about 5,000 people has been under an intense spotlight.
Bodrero believes this incident is hurting the town’s image.
“We had positive eyes, or people looking, like oh my gosh theres that neighborhood, like Napoleon Dynamite is from there and now we got national attention and world attention on Preston and its all negative,” Bodrero said.
The Idaho Department of Agriculture tells FOX13, the turtle was euthanized on Wednesday because it is considered an invasive species in the state.
Even though he took Crosland’s class more than 20 years ago, Bodrero is doesn’t believe the teacher he admires could be a threat to animals and he hopes this doesn’t ruin his career.
“He’s one of those people who will do anything he can,” Bodrero said. “Losing him because of this unfortunate circumstance, it would be a devastating blow.”
He has a message for his former teacher.
“We all stand by you,” Bodrero said. “We support you and we love you and we loved your class.”
FOX 13 reached out to Mr. Crosland. When a reporter knocked on the door of his house, a woman answered and said the teacher was attending a science convention in Georgia.