2 Feb 2011

Ohio school district payed nearly a million dollars to fire science teacher who taught creationism

The Columbus Dispatch - Ohio January 11, 2011

Mount Vernon schools pay to uphold Freshwater firing


MOUNT VERNON, Ohio -- Mount Vernon taxpayers will spend more than $900,000 for the process that determined whether an eighth-grade science teacher accused of melding religion and science should have been fired.

The Mount Vernon school district updated its costs yesterday, after a hearing referee submitted his opinion Friday that John Freshwater should be fired.

The five-member school board met last night and agreed in a 4-1 vote to accept that decision.

The lone no vote came from board member Steve Thompson, who was elected to the board after the original vote to terminate Freshwater was made unanimously in 2008. He is a longtime supporter of Freshwater's and helped to raise money for his legal defense.

School-board members met for more than two hours in a private session to discuss Freshwater's case and came out somber, saying little. Thompson said that "nothing constructive" had occurred.

Superintendent Steve Short said he didn't want to characterize the decision to terminate Freshwater as a victory. "I have an empty feeling in my stomach right now," he said last night.

Freshwater, who has been suspended with benefits but without pay since 2008, was officially fired as of midnight last night. If he continues to appeal the case, the next stop would be Knox County Common Pleas Court.

In an e-mail this morning, he said he was disappointed by the vote, but he did not say whether he would appeal further.

The largest component of the $902,765 bill that the Mount Vernon board must pay is to the school's attorney, David Millstone, a Cleveland lawyer with Squires Sanders and Dempsey who specializes in employment law. His firm will be paid at least $813,628.

Referee R. Lee Shepherd, who oversaw 38 days of hearing testimony, will be paid $35,749.

Court reporting costs for the hearing will be $45,747, along with security costs of $7,641 paid to the Knox County sheriff's office.

The hearing is among the most costly and lengthy that education experts can recall. Records, however, are not kept.

Asked if the cost is worth it, officials with the Ohio School Boards Association had mixed feelings.

"It's sad that they had to spend all that money to do what they thought was right all along," said Rick Lewis, executive director.

The board voted unanimously in 2008 to terminate Freshwater. But under state law, teachers are entitled to an administrative hearing to defend themselves.

The process protects teachers and also discourages districts from keeping rogue teachers in less-sensitive positions.

"Allowing somebody to resign and go away and pass those problems on to another school district isn't right, either," Lewis said.

Asked if the system works, Holly Ready, chief legal counsel for the association, said, "I think it's fairly clear that it's not working in all cases. That's a huge burden on taxpayers - we're paying for that."

This article was found at:



Teacher Accused of Branding Kid With Cross

Ex-superintendent: Science teacher should have avoided religion

Hearing for Ohio science teacher sacked for evangelizing and teaching anti-science shows great divide in U.S. society

Nebraska education administrators get mixed messages from lawyers on legality of promoting religion in schools

Vacation Liberty School uses Christian fundamentalism to politically indoctrinate children

Federal Court of Appeal asked to stop California college proselytizing and imposing religion on students

Advocacy group battles illegal Christian fundamentalist proselytizing in U.S. public schools

Fundamentalist Christian 'punk' band uses deception to evangelize and indoctrinate in U.S. schools

Radical Christian extremists aim to undermine public education by targeting high school kids for indoctrination into fundamentalist worldview

Christian fundamentalist boot-camp for kids indoctrinates them to fight 'bloody' religious war

Child Evangelism Fellowship complains it is banned from converting children in public housing project

Catholic parents upset that teen son was peer-pressured into baptism in Baptist church while on school trip

European Court of Human Rights rules crucifixes in Italian schools violates children's religious freedom to believe or not

Parental rights vs children's rights: debating the role of religious institutions in Irish education system

Church of England's proselytising plans will target children for recruitment and indoctrination

David Lynch Foundation infiltrating schools world-wide to promote Transcendental Meditation

'Spirituality for Kids' class draws fire

Scientology's African evangelism targets children for indoctrination, opens new 'school' in Ghana

Scientology Recruiting Children in South Africa

School unaware of link to Scientologists

Scientology link at Montessori school alarms parents

Dahn Yoga uses common cult recruitment tactic of targeting children for surreptitious indoctrination

Dahn Yoga cult infiltrates 300 U.S. schools with unproven brain education exercises

B.C. Education Minister defends a ministry publication that identifies a Scientology website as a potential resource for teachers

Religious indoctrination thrives in B.C. private schools because education ministry does not vet textbooks or courses

Does religion have any proper role in education?

The dangers of creationism in education

Atheist group files complaint with B.C. Ministry of Education over Christian school teaching creationism in science class

Strong Secularism: "Religious education can be a form of mental abuse."

Radical Christian extremists aim to undermine public education by targeting high school kids for indoctrination into fundamentalist worldview

Faith schools that indoctrinate children commit child abuse

What can humanist parents use in the battle against religious indoctrination?

Bob Jones University science textbook for home schoolers ignores science and critical thinking

New Hampshire court orders home-schooled Christian girl to attend a public school

Home schooling 'could be a cover for child abuse and sexual exploitation'

Get tough on home-schooling to weed out abuse, says UK review

Home school custody battle turns on religious freedom

German family seeks US asylum to homeschool kids

No comments:

Post a Comment