Bible-toting teacher accused of branding crosses on students

Investigators report Ohio teacher did more than just have a Bible on his desk


Lost in the lead of today’s Columbus Dispatch story and not mentioned until several paragraphs later, a Mount Vernon, Ohio, 8th-grade teacher is reported to have burned crosses onto students’ arms, using an electrostatic device, in December.

Instead, The Columbus Dispatch’s story published today led with this:

A Mount Vernon teacher undermined science instruction in the public school district by discrediting evolution in his classroom and focusing on creationism and intelligent design, an investigation has found.

Eighth-graders who were taught by John Freshwater frequently had to be re-taught in high school what they were supposed to have learned in Freshwater’s class, according to outside investigators hired by the district.

What sounded like a simple First Amendment rights story about Freshwater keeping a bible at his desk has exploded into charges of all kinds…some as the result of church and state separation paranoia, but others, such as the cross burning, may result in Freshwater’s demise.

In April, the Dispatch reported:

They painted crosses on white T-shirts and wore them to school yesterday. They carried Bibles and put them on their desks.

Some students at Mount Vernon Middle and High schools want everyone to know they support a science teacher who has refused to remove a Bible from his classroom desk.

Students cheered and offered high-fives to Middle School teacher John Freshwater when he showed up yesterday at a student-organized rally in his honor.

Mount Vernon High senior Caleb McCoy stood on a rock as he told the crowd of students and parents at the Knox County school how much he and others back Freshwater.

Defending a teacher with Christian values…great! Defending cross burning…not so good!

Freshwater told investigators the marks were X’s, not crosses. But all of the students interviewed in the investigation reported being branded with crosses. The investigation report includes a photo of one student’s arm with a long vertical line and a short horizontal line running through it.

The family of one student who was burned filed a federal lawsuit last week against Freshwater and the district, saying the student’s civil rights were violated.

The Dispatch also reports:

HR on Call Inc., the consultants who investigated allegations against Freshwater, released their findings yesterday. Mount Vernon school board members will meet today to discuss the report and decide what, if any, action they will take.

The school district was obviously going for the jugular when launching this investigation against Freshwater. He is also reported to have called homosexuality a sin. Friends and supporters are already crying character assassination.

“With the exception of the cross-burning episode. … I believe John Freshwater is teaching the values of the parents in the Mount Vernon school district,” friend Dave Daubenmire said.

Well, it is his cross-burning that just may have fried Freshwater.

NOTE: After further research, the Dispatch did report on the cross branding yesterday. This may explain the burying of this aspect of the story in today’s report. Although, to me, it still remains the possible smoking gun.

‘Cross Burning’ Into Arm Update

DIGG story

4 thoughts on “Bible-toting teacher accused of branding crosses on students

  1. Its obscene that this teacher was able to get away with his behavior for so long. Typical that these bible nuts will get more and more crazy and take more liberties with the students if they are not stopped as soon as they cross the line by teaching religion in a public school.
    It is funny that some defend the teacher by saying he teaches the values of many or most parents so its ok. That means oppression and forced religious instruction of all the kids (to heck with them and their parents religious liberty and beleifs!). Its ok to ignore the state and local curriculuum and instead of teaching of science, teach one’s own religious beliefs in violation of the long as many parents are equally ignorant of science? Gosh, if most of em do not understand math , I guess its ok to not teach real math either!

  2. Pingback: Mount Vernon Hosts ‘Expelled’ II « TheScroogeReport

  3. The cross burning was totally blown over and that frightens me. This man sounds like a radical Christian and who is to say that a radical Christian is any better than a radical Muslim? I believe he should be fired, not for teaching Intelligent Design as a possible alternative to Evolution but for disfiguring his students.

  4. Isn’t it illegal to assault and torture children? I think the issue is about a nutcase child abuser who happens to have a bible on his desk.

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