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Wednesday, January 25, 2023

State Attorney won’t pursue charges against ex-teacher at center of raccoon-drowning controversy

Dewie Brewton

The State Attorney’s Office has elected not to pursue criminal charges against former Forest High School agriculture teacher Dewie Brewton over the drowning of raccoons.

An investigation concluded that Brewton wasn’t attempting to torture or torment the nuisance animals but was trying to protect his classroom’s school project of raising chickens.

The controversy surrounding Brewton and his Forest High School class surfaced earlier this month when a video showing the drownings drew public outrage. The raccoons were trapped after several chickens the class was raising were killed.

Several students reported that when the caged raccoons tried to come up for air while being drowned in a trash can full of water, metal rods were used to hold them down and they were sprayed in the face with water hoses.

Parents and others who were upset about the drownings started several online efforts calling for Brewton’s termination. But many of his former students came to his defense on the Forest High School FFA Alumni Facebook page.

Brewton quickly was placed on administrative leave. Superintendent Heidi Maier called for the school board to fire him. And one day later, Brewton announced his retirement after 31 years with Marion County Schools. He had taught at Forest High School since 2006 and was the school’s nominee for Golden Apple Teacher of the Year in 2010.