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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ohio Teacher Dismissed for Branding Student

An Ohio board voted to dismiss a teacher for teaching Christian beliefs... and branding a cross into a student's arm.

Mt. Vernon Middle School teacher, John Freshwater, was accused of teaching Creationism, keeping multiple copies of The Holy Bible in his classroom, displaying the Ten Commandments in his classroom, and teaching fundaments of the religion. While Freshwater denies any wrongdoing, multiple complaints had been lodged against him and an independent investigation allegedly confirmed reports.

Of course, the big problem came when Freshwater "improperly use[d] an electrostatic device on the student" to brand the image of a cross into his forearm. While no criminal charges have been filed against Freshwater, the student and his family have filed a civil suit.

The district superintendent stated the investigation into Freshwater began following the "science experiment" (as the cross-branding is referred to by Freshwater and one of his co-workers, who was sued by the ACLU in 1999 for praying with the highschool football team he coached) and further incidents. He would not extrapolate on the matter, as there is a pending lawsuit.

Freshwater was dismissed, but appealed the decision and is awaiting an August hearing. Meanwhile, the small town of Mt. Vernon, OH has been deeply divided, with supporters calling for the school board's resignation.

Yet investigations show that Freshwater branded several children in his science class in December of 2007, calling the marks "X"s, not "crosses," that he refused - in writing - to remove Bibles from his classroom, denounced Evolution, and taught Creationism after explicitly being told not to. Perhaps most damning of all (no pun intended), it was discovered that one school official dealt with complaints about the teacher for 11 years!

No, no - most damning of all is that this moron branded kids with an electrostatic device! What in the hell kind of "experiment" was this and what was it supposed to show? Xs or "crosses," I really cannot imagine what branding another human being would scientifically exhibit, aside from the very obvious.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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