John Freshwater: The Defense Rests

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 with a Tesla coil , 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.

Our last update was yesterday, when we described some of Freshwater’s testimony. Today we bring you some excerpts from Defense rests in Freshwater hearing, which appears in the Mount Vernon News of Mount Vernon, Ohio. The bold font was added by us:

The defense rested its case to conclude Friday’s session of the contract termination hearing for suspended Mount Vernon middle school teacher John Freshwater.

Freshwater, who has been testifying for about 2 1/2 days, categorically denied all of the allegations brought against him by the board of education. He said, in effect, that the board’s decision to terminate his contract was based on incomplete, misleading, inaccurate and/or intentionally false information.

Any one of the allegations against Freshwater could justify his dismissal, so he might as well deny them all. He’s got nothing to lose at this point except his reputation for integrity, and there probably wasn’t much of that left, so … deny, deny, deny. Let’s read on:

Freshwater explained why he used certain materials mentioned in the investigative report — for example, a worksheet about the peppered moth. He said such materials were used to illustrate bias, and as examples of what was not good scientific method.

We assume those “certain materials” were creationist oriented. Hey, why wouldn’t he use them? Don’t all good science teachers hand out creationist tracts to improve their students’ thinking? Uh … they don’t? Oh. Never mind.


Alluding to some individuals’ alleged perception that Freshwater used his position as a teacher to promote particular religious beliefs and denigrate others, Hamilton [Freshwater’s lawyer] asked a series of questions, including, “Do you have anything against Catholics?,” “Does having a Bible on your desk make you a Christian?” and “Did you ever refer to a higher being in science class?”

Freshwater replied “no” to all of those questions. He concluded his testimony by … [repeating] his assertion that he “absolutely never taught creationism or intelligent design.”

Just a misunderstood, picked-on, yet all-round splendid fellow. Here’s more:

“This hasn’t been easy for you or your family, has it?” asked Hamilton.

“No, it has not,” Freshwater said. “It has been hard on my family.”

That’s really important testimony! But he should have saved it for his appearances on daytime television shows. Here’s the end of the article:

It is expected that Freshwater’s cross-examination by school board attorney David Millstone will begin when the hearing resumes at 9 a.m. on Dec. 29.

So this thing will drag on into yet another year. We’ll be here to bring you the thrilling climax. Stay tuned.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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3 responses to “John Freshwater: The Defense Rests

  1. I finally got my Panda’s Thumb post on last week’s testimony up.

    I think the headline on the News story is wrong — while Freshwater finished direct testimony, he still has cross examination in late December, and there’s a rumor his attorney, Kelly Hamilton, may call still more witnesses. So I’m not at all sure the defense has rested.

  2. Thanks, Richard. I wasn’t trying to step on your toes, but there was some news while you were offline, so I felt it my Curmudgeonly duty to fill in. Hey, everyone, check out Richard’s new post at Panda’s Thumb: Freshwater: Dec 8, 10, & 11, 2009

  3. No problemo. I like your analyses. 🙂