Sunday, June 22, 2008

More Details On Fired Ohio Science Teacher

A quick follow up from yesterday's post

Apparently the Ohio science teacher fired for burning crosses into his student's arm was more of a Sunday school teacher than a science teacher. The Mount Vernon News has the results from the independent firm tasked with investigating middle school science teacher John Freshwater.

Besides burning the crosses into a students arm which is the offense that ultimately got him fired, the report documented an environment dripping in religion, anti-gay, and anti-science teachings that would make most people (but not all) cringe and ask why it wasn't stopped long ago.

Some of the highlights from the report:
•Mr. Freshwater did burn a cross onto the complaining family’s child’s arm using an electrostatic device not designed for that purpose. While there did not appear to be any intent by Mr. Freshwater to cause injury to any student, he was not using the device for its intended purpose. Contrary to Mr. Freshwater’s statement he simply made an “X” not a “cross,” all of the students described the marking as a “cross” and the pictures provided depict a “cross.”

•The Ten Commandments together with other posters of a religious nature were posted in Mr. Freshwater’s classroom. Most were removed after Mr. White’s letter of April 14, 2008, but at least one poster remained which Mr. Freshwater was again instructed to remove on April 16, 2008, but did not do so.

•Several Bibles were kept in Mr. Freshwater’s classroom including his personal Bible on his desk and one he checked out of the library placed on the lab table near the desk. Other Bibles that had been maintained in the room were removed by the time the investigators viewed Mr. Freshwater’s room.

•Mr. Freshwater engaged in teaching of a religious nature, teaching creationism and related theories and calling evolution into question. He had other materials in his classroom that could be used for that purpose.

•Mr. Freshwater engaged in prayer during FCA meetings in violation of the district’s legal obligations for monitoring such organizations.

•Mr. Freshwater participated and possibly led a prayer during an FCA meeting that concerned a guest speaker’s health. There is no conclusion as to whether such prayer was a “healing” prayer.

•There is no evidence Mr. Freshwater violated the district’s permission slip policy.

•There is no evidence Mr. Freshwater made statements about FCA members “being the saved ones” nor was there any corroboration to the allegation Mr. Freshwater gave FCA members Bibles for them to distribute. He did have two boxes of Bibles in the back of his room.

•Mr. Freshwater gave an extra credit assignment for students to view the movie “Expelled” which does involve intelligent design.

A pillar of the profession, if his profession was a pastor that is.

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