John Freshwater, the Mount Vernon Ohio public school science teacher who was fired for proselytizing to his students will get a hearing on an appeal in the Ohio Supreme Court. I’ve been following this story since Freshwater burned his first cross in a student in 2008. He has lost in every court yet this case will not go away.
John Freshwater claims his rights to free speech and academic freedom were violated when he was fired by the Mount Vernon school board in January 2011 following allegations that he failed to remove religious materials from his classroom and burned crosses on students’ arms during science experiments.
“This Court must intervene if students and teachers in America’s public schools are to remain free to engage in open, respectful dialogue about competing academic theories and their respective merits. Nowhere is such freedom more crucial than in a science classroom, where the asking and answering of questions is the very basis of the universally acknowledged “scientific method,” Freshwater’s attorney, R. Kelly Hamilton argued in his request for the court to hear the case.
Two lower courts have rejected Freshwater’s appeal to his firing.
Setting aside the Dispatch’s misleading headline, it should also be noted that he was fired after a lengthy investigation by the school board and more than a year long appeal. To be correct the headline should have read: “Ohio Supreme Court agrees to hear creationist appeal”
The case isn’t about freedom of speech or academic freedom unless people think that teachers should be allowed to falsely teach children about science, inject their religious beliefs into their classroom or subjects where it doesn’t belong, or abuse children. I can imagine the outrage if a teacher tried to bring in Islamic beliefs.
The fact that he actually used a device that burned a child’s arm should have been enough to fire him.
I’ve been writing about this guy since burned his first cross in a student in 2008.