Tag Archives: science education

Ohio Supreme Court To Hear Proselytizing Teacher Case On Wednesday

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image of Proselytizing Ohio teacher John Freshwater
Proselytizing Ohio teacher John Freshwater

The saga of proselytizing teacher and accused child abuser John Freshwater from Mount Vernon Ohio will get another hearing by the Ohio State Supreme Court on Wednesday February 27th. He is appealing his termination from the Mount Vernon school district after many warnings, accusations of child abuse, and a lengthy investigation and school board hearing. Freshwater previously lost in the court of appeals and in Federal court.
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Ohio Teacher Fired For Proselytizing To Get Hearing In Ohio Supreme Court

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image of Proselytizing Ohio teacher John Freshwater
Proselytizing Ohio teacher John Freshwater

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.
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Creationist teacher Freshwater’s appeal moves to Federal Court

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John Freshwater, a Mount Vernon Ohio teacher who was fired for proselytizing in his 8th grade science class has appealed his termination and it was announced today his appeal will be moving to Federal Court.

The board filed notice with U.S. District Court in Columbus on Tuesday to move the case to the federal court system because Freshwater’s appeal involves an allegation that his constitutional right to express a religious opinion was violated.

Freshwater was accused of preaching Christian beliefs in class and of using a scientific device to mark students’ arms with a cross. The hearing officer said there was a plausible explanation for that but didn’t explain further.

Fired Mount Vernon teacher’s appeal moved to federal court

Of course he should have been fired for burning things in a student’s arm. Now he can cry to a federal judge that his rights were violated because he was proselytizing in his public school class room.

This saga just doesn’t seem like it will end.

Creationist Teacher John Freshwater officially fired by school board

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Finally it is over. By a vote of 4-1 the Mount Vernon Ohio School Board accepted the referee’s report that upheld the firing of John Freshwater, who not only burned crosses in arms of students but pushed his creationism on his classes against orders from his superiors.

From the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) website:

On January 10, 2011, the Mount Vernon City Schools Board of Education voted 4-1 to terminate the employment of John Freshwater. A middle school science teacher in Mount Vernon, Ohio, Freshwater was accused of inappropriate religious activity in the classroom — including displaying posters with the Ten Commandments and Bible verses, branding crosses on the arms of his students with a high-voltage electrical device, and teaching creationism. After a local family sued Freshwater and the district in 2008, the board voted to begin proceedings to terminate his employment in the district. Finally, after administrative hearings that proceeded sporadically over two years, the referee presiding over the hearings issued his recommendation that the board terminate his employment with the district.

Freshwater officially fired

Also info from the Columbus Dispatch

The hearing is among the most costly and lengthy that education experts can recall. Records, however, are not kept.

Asked if the cost is worth it, officials with the Ohio School Boards Association had mixed feelings.

“It’s sad that they had to spend all that money to do what they thought was right all along,” said Rick Lewis, executive director.

The board voted unanimously in 2008 to terminate Freshwater. But under state law, teachers are entitled to an administrative hearing to defend themselves.

The process protects teachers and also discourages districts from keeping rogue teachers in less-sensitive positions.

“Allowing somebody to resign and go away and pass those problems on to another school district isn’t right, either,” Lewis said.

Asked if the system works, Holly Ready, chief legal counsel for the association, said, “I think it’s fairly clear that it’s not working in all cases. That’s a huge burden on taxpayers – we’re paying for that.”

Mount Vernon schools pay to uphold Freshwater firing

Finally! Hearing report says teacher who pushed Christianity in science class should be fired

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Well it took about two years, but in a report released by a state hearing officer, he concluded that John Freshwater, a Mount Vernon Ohio teacher who was to be fired for proselytizing in his 8th grade science class should be fired.

In the report, Shepherd said Freshwater was given ample opportunity to change his content and style of teaching.

“(Freshwater) persisted in his attempts to make eighth grade science what he thought it should be – an examination of accepted scientific curriculum with the discerning eye of Christian doctrine,” Shepherd wrote. “He used his classroom as a means of sowing the seeds of doubt and confusion in the minds of impressionable students as they searched for meaning in the subject of science.”

Freshwater had for years asked the school board to consider allowing a curriculum that includes arguments against evolution. Shepherd wrote that after no changes were made, Freshwater took it upon himself to hand out Christian materials and push creationism.

State hearing officer: Mount Vernon teacher should be fired for pushing Christian agenda

Freshwater also was accused of burning crosses in the arms of some students. A lawsuit about that was settled earlier. Until I see the state hearing report I’m not sure if that child abuse was mentioned.

The next step, which I hope is the final one, is the Mount Vernon school board accepts the report and finally fires Freshwater.

*Updated*

I’ve been trying to get a copy of the report. The link on the page of the Dispatch article is broken so probably won’t have a copy until Monday. But the website Panda’s Thumb has more details on the report.

Freshwater: Summary of the referee’s recommendation

How does your head NOT hurt Bill O’Reilly?

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What really pushes my buttons are average well educated people who are science stupid. I’m not talking about not knowing Einstein’s Theory of Relativity by heart but basic science like how magnets work. Talk show host Bill O’Reilly has a problem with knowing basic science and there is video to prove it.

On his 01/04/2010 FOX “news” program “The O’Reilly Factor” he said this:

“Tide comes in tide goes out, never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that. You can’t explain why the tide goes in….”

His guest was David Silverman, President of American Atheists. The topic was the new billboard American Atheist sponsored in Huntsville Alabama that had the text “You KNOW they’re all SCAMS” along side the major religious symbols.

In his rush to defend religion, O’Reilly picked the wrong item to “prove” religion is real. Many people try to argue that if you can’t explain something then it must be “God” but people try to pick something that is in fact not easy to explain or currently can’t be explained.

In you might be wondering, ocean tides are influenced by the gravity of the Moon.

Here is a video of the “interview”:

This is why we need a rededication to strong rational science education. Mom’s don’t let your kids grow up to be science stupid like Bill O’Reilly.