That evangelical Ohio science guy

John Freshwater had his first day of an administrative hearing today, to determine whether he should keep his job. The Panda’s Thumb has a detailed account, if you’re interested.

Catching up on the news Stateside

JISHOU, HUNAN — Last spring, I was following the case of one John Freshwater, an Ohio science teacher accused of proselytizing his seventh-graders a little too zealously. Freshwater was relieved of his duties when an unnamed student and his parents filed suit, charging Freshwater with civil rights violations. Freshwater allegedly burned a cross on the student’s arm with a Tesla coil, a common science lab demo device that generally should be kept far from human flesh. (I speak from personal experience.) Anyway, this teacher, who subscribes to some kind of wacko right-wing Christianity, wants the names of the student and his parents made public. In a town where folks are already polarized over Freshwater’s “I will keep a Bible in the classroom no matter what” crusade, revealing the names of the family would be tantamount to inviting people to burn crosses in their front yard. Yeah, it’s that bad in mid-Ohio. Land of the free, and all that. Ed Brayton at Scienceblogs has the gory details.

Mid-Ohio science teacher to lose job — finally 1

John Freshwater will burn crosses on students’ arms no more (see picture released by school officials to the AP, at right), at least in Mount Vernon, Ohio. He has been sacked. On Friday, the Mount Vernon school board reviewed a 15-page investigative report on Freshwater’s actions in the classroom, and voted to dismiss the science teacher of 21 years. Freshwater had been accused, among other things, of using a Tesla coil to burn a cross in a student’s arm, proselytizing students, teaching creationism contrary to school policy, and refusing to remove a Bible from his desk. He and school officials still face legal action. The family of the student whose arm was burned filed a civil complaint in US District Court in Columbus last week, naming Freshwater and school officials as defendants. The law suit alleges Freshwater’s religious activities in the classroom violated the civil rights of the student, known only as John Doe. The complaint also alleges school officials failed to reprimand Freshwater sufficiently after the arm-burning incident, and permitted him to proselytize students in class in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Freshwater, a fundamentalist Christian by all appearances, became a poster child for the ...
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