A further defeat for Freshwater
John Freshwater's legal challenge to the decision to terminate his employment as a middle school science teacher in Mount Vernon, Ohio, was defeated again, on March 5, 2012, when Ohio's Fifth District Court of Appeals upheld (PDF) a lower court's rejection of his challenge. It is still open to Freshwater to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Ohio, however, so the case — which ultimately stems from a complaint against Freshwater lodged in 2008 — may continue to linger in the Ohio court system.
In 2008, a local family accused Freshwater of engaging in inappropriate religious activity — including teaching creationism — and sued Freshwater and the district. The Mount Vernon City School Board then voted to begin proceedings to terminate his employment. After thorough administrative hearings that proceeded over two years and involved more than eighty witnesses, the referee presiding over the hearings issued his recommendation that the board terminate Freshwater's employment with the district, and the board voted to do so in January 2011.
Freshwater challenged his termination in the Knox County Court of Common Pleas in February 2011, but the court found "there is clear and convincing evidence to support the Board of Education's termination of Freshwater's contract(s) for good and just cause." Freshwater then appealed the decision to Ohio's Fifth District Court of Appeals in December 2011. NCSE filed a friend-of-the-court brief (PDF) with the appellate court, arguing that Freshwater's materials and methods concerning evolution "have no basis in science and serve no pedagogical purpose."
Documents relevant to Freshwater's termination and the subsequent court case are available on NCSE's website. Extensive blog coverage of the Freshwater saga, including Richard B. Hoppe's day-by-day account of Freshwater's termination hearing, is available at The Panda's Thumb blog; search for "Freshwater". Hoppe also recently contributed "Dover Comes to Ohio" (PDF) — a detailed account from a local observer of the whole fracas, from the precipitating incident to Freshwater's appeal — to Reports of the National Center for Science Education 32:1.