John Freshwater Trial Update (31 Oct)

AS YOU KNOW, this hearing is to determine whether John Freshwater will be fired as an 8th-grade science teacher. He’s 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.

In today’s Columbus Dispatch we read: Second student says science teacher burned his arm. Excerpts, with bold added by us:

A second Mount Vernon student said his 8th grade science teacher burned a cross on his arm with an electrical device, but that he didn’t tell his parents or complain about the incident.

The evidence is piling up. More:

Simon [the student who testified that he too had been burned by Freshwater] recalled overhearing Freshwater and a group of students discussing religion in the classroom on a day he walked in to turn in an assignment.

Freshwater told them, “Catholics aren’t Christians,” [Simon] Souhrada testified.

Asked why that phrase stuck with him four years later, Souhrada replied, “because I’m Catholic.”

Now Freshwater’s attorney takes his turn:

Asked by Freshwater’s attorney, R. Kelly Hamilton, if he was bothered by the comment, Souhrda replied, “I’m not all that easily offended.”

But the offense to Simon isn’t really the issue, is it? Continuing:

Paul Souhrada, Simon’s father, testified he “did not realize the extent of what was going on until I saw this handout,” about intelligent design. Paul Souhrada is an editor at The Dispatch.

It’s not smart to offend the press. Here’s more:

Richard Cunningham, chairman of the Mount Vernon High School science department, described the handout that Simon Souhrada brought home as “inflammatory in tone” and having “a very clear bias” toward intelligent design.

Things don’t look good for Freshwater. One more excerpt:

Just before a lunch break, Katie Beach, who teaches special needs children in the district, said she spent most of last year working with some students in Freshwater’s class. She said Freshwater advised students to refer to their Bible for additional science research and told them the Big Bang theory couldn’t explain how such a complex world could exist.

If this stuff is true, Mr. Freshwater will be lucky to get a janitor’s job with the public school system. But there’s always private school. There, perhaps he can “teach the controversy.”

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