John Freshwater Trial Update (30 Oct)

THE FRESHWATER trial continues. Today, in the Columbus Dispatch we read: Principal: 8th Grade science teacher taught religion, subtitled: “Freshmen had to re-learn science principles after leaving junior high.”

This trial (which seems to be an administrative hearing) is to determine whether 8th-grade science teacher John Freshwater will keep his job. We’ll quote this paragraph out of sequence, to give you some background:

Freshwater is accused of burning a student, teaching religion in his science class and failing to follow the district’s orders. Freshwater says the district wants to fire him because he refused to remove a Bible from his desk.

Okay, here are today’s developments. We’re going to re-arrange the sequence of the news article, because their presentation is rather choppy.

Mt. Vernon High School Principal Kathy Kasler testified that e-mails, teachers’ comments and a teacher’s surveys of her students showed that some 8th grade science students were being taught creationism, the religious belief that a deity created the universe.


Kasler said she’s known of complaints about Freshwater for about seven years, and that she asked the middle school to assign her daughter to another science teacher.

But then the heavy-duty defense attorney stepped in:

Freshwater’s attorney, R. Kelly Hamilton, asked Kasler how far she took her concerns about Freshwater. She [Kasler] said she advised other administrators, but didn’t do more because Freshwater was not her employee.

“If she had problems with somebody, based on her years of experience, and her leadership training, she certainly could have taken further action,” Hamilton concluded.

Is that significant? It doesn’t seem so to us, but Freshwater’s lawyer has to work with what he’s got. Here’s more, and we’ve re-sequenced some of this:

… [A] medical doctor also testified that pictures of marks on a student who says Freshwater burned him with a lab instrument were “superficial” second degree burns that could produce underlying damage.


Dr. David Levy, chairman of emergency medicine at St. Elizabeth Health Center said that such burns can cause underlying damage and can be more dangerous to children, whose skin is thinner and moister than adults.

Levy also said that since electricity passes through arteries and nerves, “chaotic rhythms” of the heart could result.

“Could” result. But presumably didn’t. Still, the conduct is rather questionable. Then Freshwater’s lawyer took his turn:

Hamilton asked Levy whether high voltage metal balls popular at some science museums, and used to make hair stand on end, would be any safer that the device Freshwater used.

Levy replied: “Not necessarily.”

Back and forth it goes. We’re waiting for the creationism testimony (unless we already missed it). The hearing will continue tomorrow, but may be postponed next week due to scheduling problems.

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4 responses to “John Freshwater Trial Update (30 Oct)

  1. retiredsciguy

    Jeez, I wonder how many science teachers are re-thinking using Van der Graff generators in their classrooms.

  2. Shouldn’t be a problem, as long as there’s no bible on your desk.

  3. retiredsciguy

    That’s shocking!

  4. mightyfrijoles

    The electric shock will be the reason the DI will use for his dismissal – and it is enough. The Creationism will be covered up. IOW, the School Board is going to get him out, Creationism or not.

    Ho hum.