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Creationist teacher in Ohio to be fired


The Mount Vernon City School District Board of Education unanimously voted at its June 20, 2008, meeting to begin proceedings to terminate the employment of John Freshwater, a middle school science teacher in the district. "Freshwater preached his Christian beliefs about how the world began, discredited evolution and didn't teach the required science curriculum, the board says. He was told to stop teaching creationism and intelligent design, but he continued to do so, an investigation found," the Columbus Dispatch (June 21, 2008) reports. According to the Dispatch, "After learning of the board's decision, Freshwater called the consultants' report half-truths and said he never veered from the state standards for teaching science"; his lawyer added that Freshwater intends to appeal the board's decision and described the complaints as "fabrications."

Complaints about Freshwater's behavior have reportedly been lodged over the course of the last eleven years. A complaint filed in federal court on June 13, 2008, accused Freshwater of inappropriately bringing his religion to school -- including by displaying posters with the Ten Commandments and Bible verses, branding crosses into the arms of his students with a high-voltage electrical device, and teaching creationism. The investigative report commissioned by the district stated, "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," including Jonathan Sarfati's Refuting Evolution and Jonathan Wells's Icons of Evolution. The report also quoted complaints from high school teachers in the district about the effect of his teaching.