THIS mess has been going on forever. Our last update was here: John Freshwater Trial Update (09 Jan).
QUICK BACKGROUND: This is an administrative hearing to determine whether John Freshwater will be fired as an 8th-grade science teacher in Ohio. He’s accused of burning a student, teaching religion in his science class, and failing to follow the school district’s orders. Freshwater says the district wants to fire him only because he refused to remove a Bible from his desk.
The proceedings to fire Freshwater have been getting most of the attention, but there are side issues that have also been pending in addition to the hearing described above. One of those ancillary matters has just been concluded. In the Columbus Dispatch we read Mount Vernon schools settle suit over cross-branding incident. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
Mount Vernon schools have agreed to settle a federal lawsuit with the family of a boy who said his eighth-grade teacher burned a cross in his arm with a laboratory instrument and taught religious-based theories in the classroom. The district and its insurance carrier have agreed to pay Zachary Dennis and his family $5,500 and their attorneys $115,500.
The settlement does not affect a similar lawsuit brought by the Dennises against Freshwater. Nor does it affect a lawsuit that Freshwater filed against the school district.
Paying the family $5,500 is a nuisance settlement. Let’s read on:
In June 2008, the school board announced its intention to fire Freshwater. He is fighting that move in an administrative hearing. In the meantime, he has been on unpaid administrative leave.
Freshwater’s hearing, allowable under Ohio law, has been ongoing for more than a year. The hearing has already cost the district more than $300,000 in legal fees.
So Mr. Freshwater’s status is still undecided. Maybe they’ll figure it out by the end of the year.
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