ONTD Political

[TW Abuse] Teacher Burns Crucifix Onto Student’s Arms, Sues When Fired

8:54 pm - 11/13/2012
In a case that has been litigated since 2008 (and is still ongoing), John Freshwater, a teacher who previously lived and worked in Mount Vernon, Ohio, insists that his First Amendment rights and “academic freedom” were violated when he was fired by the school district for teaching Creationism in class and burning a cross into the arms of students using a Tesla coil.

From the report that lead to his firing:

Mr. Freshwater was insubordinate in failing to remove all of the religious materials from his classroom as ordered by his superior, Principal White.

-Mr. Freshwater did burn a cross onto the complaining family’s child’s arm using an electrostatic device not designed for that purpose
-The Ten Commandments together with other posters of a religious nature were posted in Mr. Freshwater’s classroom. Most were removed after Mr. White’s letter of April 14, 2008, but at least one poster remained which Mr. Freshwater was again instructed to remove on April 16, 2008, but did not do so.
-Several Bibles were kept in Mr. Freshwater’s classroom including his personal Bible on his desk and one he checked out of the library placed on the lab table near the desk. Other Bibles that had been maintained in the room were removed by the time the investigators viewed Mr. Freshwater’s room.
-Mr. Freshwater engaged in teaching of a religious nature, teaching creationism and related theories and calling evolution into question. He had other materials in his classroom that could be used for that purpose.
-Mr. Freshwater engaged in prayer during FCA meetings in violation of the District’s legal obligations for monitoring such organizations.
-Mr. Freshwater participated and possibly lead a prayer during an FCA meeting that concerned a guest speaker’s health. There is no conclusion as to whether such prayer was a “healing” prayer.
-Mr. Freshwater gave an extra credit assignment for students to view the movie “Expelled” which does involve intelligent design.

It’s important to note that Freshwater did not work at a religious institute but a regular public school (not that branding would be acceptable at ANY kind of school). Freshwater knows, as does every Creationist teacher, that the courts have struck down (over and over again), in the harshest possible terms, any attempt to legally teach Creationism, Intelligent Design or any other phony variation of anti-evolution claptrap in public schools. It’s a direct violation of the Separation Clause in the First Amendment. Freshwater did not care. How do we know Freshwater knew he was breaking the law? Like any common criminal, he tried to hide the evidence:

There is a significant amount of evidence that Mr. Freshwater’s teachings regarding subjects related to evolution were not consistent with the curriculum of the Mount Vernon City Schools and State standards. Contrary to Mr. Freshwater’s statement, the evidence indicates he has been teaching creationism and intelligent design and has been teaching the unreliability of carbon dating in support of opposition to evolution. He has passed out materials to students for the past several years challenging evolution and then collecting the materials back from the students. He has done so in spite of specific directives not to teach creationism or intelligent design. He has taught students to use the code word “Here” to challenge scientific process that is considered settled by the high school science teachers.

However, it is equally clear that Freshwater is hoping to be a new test case. His claim of “academic freedom” is simply a new tactic to force religion into the classroom. Via Alternet:

“Academic freedom was once the bedrock of American education,” Rutherford Institute President John W. Whitehead said in a media statement. “That is no longer the state of affairs, as this case makes clear. What we need today are more teachers and school administrators who understand that young people don’t need to be indoctrinated. Rather, they need to be taught how to think for themselves.”

This sounds like a solid argument but its foundation is pure quicksand. “Academic freedom,” in this case, is the “freedom” to teach whatever one believes regardless of whether it has any basis in reality whatsoever. By this standard, a history teacher can teach that slaves were happy to be slaves and that the Civil War was the worst thing to ever happen to the black population of America. A biology teacher could teach that germs are not the cause of disease but rather an imbalance of the humors. A science teacher can teach that dinosaurs never existed and that fossils were planted by Satan to make us doubt God. All this and more under the guise of “academic freedom.”

What makes this case worth noting today is that, despite having lost in court twice, the Ohio Supreme Court has decided to take up the case. If it fails there, Freshwater will no doubt try to make a federal case out of it (literally). The federal courts are riddled with partisan extremists appointed by the Bush administration, the Supreme Court being the most obvious example. As many times as Creationist anti-science loses, it only needs to win once to set a precedent. In much the same way that Voter ID laws spread throughout the country like a virus, so, too, would a successfully litigated case of “academic freedom” spread to every school district with religious fanatics on its board.

This “academic freedom” bit fails, as all Christian Fundamentalist claims to “religious freedom” do, to pass the Muslim Test. If Freshwater’s children came home with a copy of the Koran and instructions to read up on how Jesus was a prophet and not the son of God, it is inconceivable that he would smile and be happy for the “academic freedom” of a Muslim teacher. People like Freshwater do not want freedom for all, they want special “freedoms” for their brand of twisted Christianity.

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schexyschteve 14th-Nov-2012 03:56 am (UTC)
Nope, sorry, your religious freedom ends at your body. You do not get to brand other people in the name of your religion. Fuck off.

Edited at 2012-11-14 03:56 am (UTC)
shadownlite 14th-Nov-2012 06:07 am (UTC)
tadashee 14th-Nov-2012 04:00 am (UTC)
I can't handle this.
tiddlywinks103 14th-Nov-2012 04:01 am (UTC)

I would have choked him to death the second my kid came home with burns, negl.
(no subject) - Anonymous
vulturoso 14th-Nov-2012 06:27 pm (UTC)
Burning ANYONE is assault.
chantalzola 14th-Nov-2012 04:03 am (UTC)
This is fucking scary. And sorry, BRANDING your underaged student is not covered by the first amendment.
chantalzola 14th-Nov-2012 04:44 am (UTC)
Reading more about this, I have to say, this article is misleading and definitely sensationalist. There is definitely more to this story.
layweed 14th-Nov-2012 04:04 am (UTC)
zinnia_rose 14th-Nov-2012 04:13 am (UTC)

He cannot seriously think that his freedom of religion extends to BURNING PEOPLE. What the fuck.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
betray802 14th-Nov-2012 10:52 am (UTC)
If anyone had ever TRIED THIS on me, they'd have heard my mother on fucking Tyrus. Because she would have heard me screaming from the school.
rhysande 14th-Nov-2012 04:20 am (UTC)
Why isn't this supernova'd asshole in jail for assault and battery of a minor?
sandstorm 14th-Nov-2012 04:21 am (UTC)
"He was fired for teaching Creationism - oh, and for burning a crucifix into someone."

What on earth!
mollywobbles867 14th-Nov-2012 04:22 am (UTC)
Pic should probably go under a cut. It didn't trigger me, but it might trigger someone else.

Sorry, dude, you crossed the line at teaching creationism and then you just plain stepped into abuse when you branded a kid. Fuck you.
yeats 14th-Nov-2012 05:12 am (UTC)
randomtasks 14th-Nov-2012 04:26 am (UTC)
Why isn't he in jail for battery?
seishin 14th-Nov-2012 04:31 am (UTC)
Oh my fucking god. D: D: D:
urplesquirrel 14th-Nov-2012 04:34 am (UTC)
Why is he not in jail? BURNING a student is abuse, and should have his crazy ass behind bars, no matter what he burned them with or why.
alight 14th-Nov-2012 04:43 am (UTC)
HEY YEATS BB could you put the pic under the cut too, it's triggering one of my friends :C
yeats 14th-Nov-2012 05:11 am (UTC)

yeah totally -- sorry i wasn't sure whether to cut it but i totally will! thanks for letting me you!
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