June 22, 2008

More Abuse by Teachers

I saw this story on CNN the other day and frankly it made my blood boil.
(CNN) -- School administrators in Ohio voted Friday to begin the process of firing a middle school teacher accused of burning a cross into a student's arm and refusing to keep his religious beliefs out of the classroom.

The Mount Vernon School Board passed a resolution to terminate the employment of John Freshwater, an eighth-grade science teacher for the past 21 years.

Freshwater, according to an independent report, used an electrostatic device to mark a cross on the arm of one of his students, causing pain to the student the night of the incident and leaving a mark that lasted for approximately three weeks.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, the student's family has filed a lawsuit.

Freshwater was also reprimanded several times for refusing to move his Bible from his classroom desk and teaching creationism alongside evolution, according to the 15-page independent report. The report also cites evidence 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."

More information can be found here including a signifcant excerpt from the report compiled by the firm that investigated this case.

"The key findings of the report are quoted below.

•Mr. Freshwater did burn a cross onto the complaining family’s child’s arm using an electrostatic device not designed for that purpose. While there did not appear to be any intent by Mr. Freshwater to cause injury to any student, he was not using the device for its intended purpose. Contrary to Mr. Freshwater’s statement he simply made an “X” not a “cross,” all of the students described the marking as a “cross” and the pictures provided depict a “cross.”

•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."

This just makes me shake my head. Abuse by any one in a position of authority is wrong, but when it involves children...

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