Dewie Brewton, a Florida teacher from Forest High School, was placed on administrative leave after a student shared a shocking video showing him drowning wild raccoons with the help of other students. The mother of the student who filmed the video said a possum was drowned too. She said the raccoons were drowned because they ate the students’ chicken. But parents have expressed outrage about what happened, while some former students have come to his defense.
Here is what you need to know about Dewie Brewton.
1. A Mother Said that Dewie Brewton Had Students Help Him Drown the Raccoons in Trash Bins and Run Water Hoses in Their Faces When They Tried To Get Air
A freshman student at Forest High School filmed Dewie Brewton drowning two wild raccoons in a garbage bin during class, with the assistance of the students in his class. The heart-wrenching footage showed a raccoon in a metal trap being lowered into a garbage bin that was filled with water. Some students help while other students watched. The mother of the student who filmed the incident said that Brewton had pinned the raccoons and caught them in cages before telling the students to drown them. She said the raccoons were held down with metal rods when they tried to get air.
“When the raccoon would try to pop its head up they held water hoses in its face to drown it,” she told Daily Mail.
It’s actually not unusual for raccoons to eat chickens. Experts warn that one raccoon can devastate an entire flock of chickens, killing the birds and eating the eggs, because raccoons tend to be intelligent predators. When raising chickens, deterrents should always be used such as not leaving food out that might attract raccoons, not leaving chickens to run loose in a yard at night, and enclosing them in secure coops that raccoons can’t get into.
You can watch a video of what happened, which may be graphic for some viewers, below, provided by ClickOrlando.com. At one point in the video, you can hear someone saying “Why is he not fighting?” as the raccoon sits in a trap filled with water. At another point, you can hear a student suggesting to put “him” in a smaller cage and put that cage “back in there.”
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2. The Student’s Mother Said Brewton Threatened To Give a Referral To Any Student Who Filmed or Photographed What Was Happening
A freshman, who wanted to remain anonymous, told his mom that Brewton had threatened to give a referral to any student who filmed or took pictures of what was happening, KRON 4 reported. The student recorded what was happening anyway because he knew what was happening was wrong, and later shared the video with his mom.
She said her son was devastated by the drownings. “He knew while it was happening that it was wrong, so he did it anyway and stood behind people hiding, taking pictures and videos,” she told KRON 4. She said her son was in tears when he came home and the photos and video horrified her, ClickOrlando reported.
“”It made me sick,” she said. “It made me sick to my stomach. It’s terrible. It still does make me sick to my stomach… I don’t think that’s the way to treat any animal. Whether it is a raccoon or (another animal) you just don’t torture an animal and kill it like that. They should have trapped the animal and had somebody take them and relocate the animals.”
Dewie Brewton has been placed on paid administrative leave. He has worked at Forest since 2006.
The Marion County School Board said in a statement: “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 Commission is investigating the method used to kill the raccoons and will send their findings to prosecutors to determine if Brewton will face any charges.
3. The Mother Said that Brewton, Who Was Nominated for Teacher of the Year in 2010, Also Killed a Possum
In 2010, Brewton was Forest High School’s nominee for Golden Apple Teacher of the Year, Ocala.com reported. A cached version of his page on Forest High School’s website lists him as the agriculture teacher and FFA advisor (the page has since been taken down.)
The mother said that her son told her the raccoons were killed because one of them ate a chicken the class had been raising. But a possum was also killed, she said, and that was just for the sport of it.
4. Former Students Are Supporting Dewie Brewton
Former students with the Forest High School FFA Alumni Chapter are now speaking out in support of Brewton, Ocala.com reported. The students said they support Brewton 100 percent because he always goes “above and beyond” for his students, providing around-the-clock help. They went on to say that he is a “man of faith” who provides guidance for his students’ success. The group said the situation is being escalated unnecessarily by the media.
Here is their full statement:
On behalf of the Forest High School FFA Alumni Chapter we would like to speak out about the actions that took place yesterday and today in regards to our FFA Advisor Mr. Dewie Brewton. We would like to say that we are 100% behind our advisor and everything he does for our children/students. 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. He has spent late nights, weekends and has provided around the clock support for his club and for his school. He is a man of faith and has always provided the wisdom and guidance needed for his students to succeed. He is a supporter of the agriculture industry and the FFA. The media is going to make this situation escalate to lengths that are unnecessary and we must stand together and focus on the facts. We must focus on all of the extremely positive and life changing things that this man has done for people. We must show our support for him in this time of need and show that we are one. Thank you for your continued support of the Forest High FFA Chapter and the Alumni.
5. Many People Are Signing Petitions & Calling the School About Brewton’s Actions After He Was Put on Paid Leave
Dewie Brewton was put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. For many people, this is not enough. They are circulating a petition seeking charges be filed against him, and they are requesting that others call the Superintendent of the school district where he works, along with Forest High School.
The Change.org petition is posted here. The petition reads: “A disturbing video surfaced of a Forest High School teacher drowning an animal while students watched and assisted. We demand that he is fired from his job, and that the FWC and state attorney’s office work together to press criminal charges.”
So far, 548 people have signed the petition.
This is a developing story.