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Courting Confusion: Why Is The Ohio Supreme Court Hearing A Creationist Teacher’s Case?

A middle school science teacher who was fired in January 2011 is set to have his case reviewed by the Ohio Supreme Court even though he not only taught creationism, but also was accused of branding a student with a cross.

John Freshwater was an eighth-grade science teacher in Mount Vernon, Ohio. In 2003, Freshwater asked the school board to allow him to teach creationism and “intelligent design.” Board members rightly refused, but Freshwater did it anyway. Read more

Freshwater Fired: Ohio Teacher’s Classroom Crusade – Finally – Comes To An End

We’ve written several times about the antics of John Freshwater, an eighth-grade science teacher in Mount Vernon, Ohio, who was accused of teaching creationism and promoting religion in class.

It took a while, but there is good news to report: Freshwater has been fired. Read more

Cross To Bear: Ohio Battle Over Preaching Teacher Moves Toward Resolution

A long-running legal battle over religion in an Ohio public school appears to be drawing to a close.

The case involves a former eighth-grade science teacher named John Freshwater at Mount Vernon Middle School, who was accused of teaching creationism, posting religious signs in his classroom and engaging in other legally dubious activities.

Ironically, none of that stuff, as bad as it is, brought Freshwater under scrutiny. His downfall began after he used an electronic device called a Tesla coil to burn a small cross on a student’s arm. Read more

Reading, Writing And Respect: School Officials Should Resolve To Protect Students' Religious Freedom

Happy New Year! After a break for the holidays, I'm back at work here at Americans United. And, as far as I know, it's back to school for kids across the country today, too.

In an effort to make everyone's lives easier in 2010 – including students, parents, teachers and school officials – we'd like to start things off by asking all public school staff to make this a constitutionally sound new year and resolve to uphold the wall of separation between church and state. Read more

Freshwater's Fetid Filing: Ohio Teacher Sues To Continue Classroom Religion

The job of a public school teacher is to instruct young people in certain subjects – perhaps math, science, history or English. The job of a religious leader is to offer information about theology and how to interact with God. There should be no overlap.

Yet, occasionally, a teacher will get it into his or head to start preaching in the classroom. Whenever this happens, controversy quickly follows. Read more