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article imageTeacher Fired for Burning a Cross into a Student's Arm

By Christine Mattice     Jun 22, 2008 in World
Mount Vernon’s school board voted unanimously to fire their middle school science teacher on Friday amid claims that he had burned a cross into one of his student’s arms.
John Freshwater, a teacher in this central Ohio school district for 21 years, denied any wrongdoing. As Sky News reports:
he was trying to demonstrate (an electrostatic) device on several students and described the images as an "X", not a cross.
But a consulting firm, hired to investigate Freshwater’s actions, said that the images were of a cross.
This wasn’t the first time that Freshwater had faced allegations of bringing his religious beliefs into the classroom.
Lynda Weston, the district’s director of teaching and learning, told investigator that she had fielded such complaints about Freshwater for much of her 11-year tenure.
According to the 15-page report by investigators, Freshwater had been
reprimanded several times for refusing to move his Bible from his classroom desk and teaching creationism alongside evolution [and that] Mr. Freshwater told his students that “science is wrong because the Bible states that homosexuality is a sin and so anyone who is gay chooses to be gay and is therefore a sinner.”
This report was released a week after the family of one of Freshwater’s students filed a lawsuit against him for burning a cross into their child’s arm in December. This incident, they claimed, not only caused their child excruciating pain at the time, but that the image of the cross lasted for three or four weeks.
Freshwater is planning to appeal his termination.
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