Saturday, June 13, 2009

Both Sides Now

Whoops, there seems to be a problem with an insufficiently god-despising school teacher in Ohio.

See how I did that? Wow, that was fun writing like Ann Coulter for a second.

Back to the story! One News Now reports:

A Christian teacher in a public school is being hailed as "a hero of the faith."

John Freshwater, an eighth-grade teacher in Ohio, filed suit this week against the Mount Vernon City School District and district officials, claiming they violated his free-speech and civil rights when he was released. The $1-million lawsuit claims he was fired by the district last year over accusations that he preached Christianity in class. He also says he was harassed because of his religion and was discriminated against because of his involvement with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

That sounds unfair! Let's see what the representative from the Christian Educators Association has to say about this:

"I am pleased to see a public school teacher like John Freshwater willing to go outside his comfort zone and fight for the religious freedoms our forefathers guaranteed is through the U.S. Constitution," says Laursen. "It is imperative that all Christian educators, students, and parents be willing to step forward to insist on their rights -- or those rights will slowly be forfeited.

"John is proving to be a hero of the faith," he adds.

In firing Freshwater, the Mount Vernon school board cited an internal investigation that found he had preached his Christian beliefs in class. Freshwater, a teacher for 24 years, was also accused of using a scientific device to burn a cross image onto a student's arm and of keeping a Bible on his desk.

Surely a teacher can simply have a Bible on his desk, and... wait a minute... what's all this about burning crosses into students arms?

Time to switch to another source. Hey, fair & balanced! Here's more from Americans United for Separation of Church 'n' State:

In Mount Vernon, Ohio, science teacher John Freshwater is suing the school district, saying he was improperly fired. District officials say Freshwater preached in class, disparaged evolution and criticized gay people. He’s also accused of using an electrostatic device to burn crosses into the arms of students. One child reportedly had blisters for several days.

The Mount Vernon School Board took this matter seriously. When complaints were raised against Freshwater last year, the board investigated them.

The Columbus Dispatch reported, “The board announced last June that it intended to fire Freshwater for preaching his Christian beliefs about how the world began, discrediting evolution and deviating from the required science curriculum. An investigation initiated by the board found that Freshwater used a high-voltage lab tool to burn crosses into the arms of students and that he told them gays were sinners.”

I'm still intrigued, and I totally want to know more about the circumstances in which a public school teacher literally brands students with the sign of the cross.

He is "a hero of the faith" indeed.


desertwind said...

Oh, for the love of god.

Eventually cops will be called to his home for something. There, they will find something more -- much more -- than they're looking for.

PS - isn't it odd that both the Xtian & the AUSCnS groups list the BURNING A CROSS ON STUDENTS' ARMS charge last)

Karen Zipdrive said...

I wonder if the students got extra credit for being branded?
I'm just glad it didn't happen in Texas...we have enough to live down.

Matty Boy said...

An investigation? If someone was burning crosses in students' arms at any school I've ever attended or worked at, this would be big enough news that everybody would know within three days of the event.

I guess they have more important stuff to gossip about in hopping place like Mount Vernon, Ohio.

Jim Donato said...

Yumpin' Yimminy! I'm right with you there! That whole "using an electrostatic device to burn a cross on student's forearms" is just a wee bit more high profile than simply preaching the gospel to the horde of raving sinners that comprise the typical classroom!

This makes me want to watch Jim Skafish's segment on Urgh! A Music War really badly now!

Madduane said...

I wonder if he was branding the students he liked or the ones he didn't like...

mountvernon1805 said...

Dear Ann Coulter (aka Princess Sparkle Pony),

You said “I'm still intrigued, and I totally want to know more about the circumstances in which a public school teacher literally brands students with the sign of the cross.”

I live within the school district where the allegations have been made and have been following the case. (I’ve attended some of the hearing and have been writing about the proceedings on my blog.)

Back in 1987 when John Freshwater began working for the school as a science teacher he was given verbal instructions on the use of the “Tesla coil.” During his time as a teacher he would allow students to touch the device after he was done using it for class demonstrations with lessons on gases. He would ask for volunteers, first drawing it across his own arm to show what it did and then passing it across the arms of students who volunteered. The Tesla coil would leave a pinkish mark on the arm.

Several other teachers in the school district have reported also allowing students to touch the sparks from the Tesla coil and that no student was ever harmed by it.

No one other than the family of the student that was allegedly burned has come forward and claimed seeing a burn on the arm of the student. Several students have testified, during a hearing being conducted, that they saw the student without a burn to his arm.

Bartman said...

Did the lucky students get a unique number right next to the cross?

Anonymous said...

Somehow I suspect that a guy who burns crosses onto his students' skin has a lot in common with other people who are, um, famous for burning crosses.

Nan said...

The Mansfield(Oh) News Journal has a column about this case today. Hope the link works: