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June 25, 2008

Ohio Teacher Burns Cross Into Arms of Several Students

An eighth-grade science teacher at a Mount Vernon, Ohio school used a science tool known as a high frequency generator to burn images of a cross on several students' arms.

John Freshwater, who has been employed by the school district for 21 years, told investigators that he was simply trying to demonstrate the device on three to eight students and described the images as an "X," not a cross. Pictures however show the images clearly depict a cross, the report said.

Although Mr. Freshwater seems to be liked by many of the students, the cross burning incident has greatly upset the families of the student victims.

The Mount Vernon News reported that they had received a fax from attorney Jessica Philemond of the law firm Isaac, Brant, Ledman & Teetor, who issued a statement from her clients, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of their child being retaliated against.

The fax stated, “We are religious people, but we were offended when Mr. Freshwater burned a cross onto the arm of our child. This was done in science class in December 2007, where an electric shock machine was used to burn our child. The burn was severe enough that our child awoke that night with severe pain, and the cross remained there for several weeks. ... We have tried to keep this a private matter and hesitate to tell the whole story to the media for fear that we will be retaliated against.”

This is not the first incident John Freshwater has been admonished for. He has also taught the unreliability of carbon dating in support of opposition to evolution, told his classes that homosexuality is a sin, refused to remove a bible prominently displayed on his classroom desk in violation of school rules and has conducted prayers and engaged in a healing session in his capacity as as monitor for a Fellowship of Christian Athletes which is a non-school sponsored religious club that federal law prohibits school employees from actively participating in.

Late last Friday, the Mount Vernon school board voted 5-0 to move ahead on firing John Freshwater after an investigation showed he preached his Christian beliefs in class and did, in fact, burn the image of a cross on students' arms.

News Sources: Yahoo News and Mount Vernon News