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Ohio Supreme Court rules in teacher Bible case
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled the Mt. Vernon school district did infringe on John Freshwater’s First Amendment rights by ordering him to remove his personal Bible but said he was insubordinate for keeping the other items.
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
A 4-3 ruling from the Ohio Supreme Court won’t restore the job of a public school science teacher from Mt. Vernon. But as Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports, the ruling may be a disappointment to some because of what it didn’t say.
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Eighth grade science teacher John Freshwater was fired in 2008 for keeping a Bible and a poster featuring a Biblical verse on the wall in his classroom after he was ordered to remove them. David Smith argued for the Mt. Vernon schools, and told the Ohio Supreme Court in February this was insubordination. 

“The principal had directed Mr. Freshwater to remove objects and he didn’t,” Smith said.

But Freshwater’s lawyer Rita Dunaway had argued that her client was teaching supporting and opposing views on evolution, and that’s what got him fired. 

“Here you have an ad hoc, non-policy based termination that is censorship and manifests religious hostility,” Dunaway said.

The justices ruled the school district did infringe on Freshwater’s First Amendment rights by ordering him to remove his personal Bible but said he was insubordinate for keeping the other items. But the court did not rule on whether Freshwater was unconstitutionally teaching his religious beliefs.

Listener Comments:

This article doesn't cover all the infractions for which Freshwater was originally fired. "The lawsuit alleged Freshwater had proselytized in class, displayed religious material (which was not for his personal use) in the classroom, and left a burn on the son's arm in the shape of a cross." source: wikipedia


Posted by: Carol Smith (Milwaukee, WI) on November 21, 2013 3:11AM
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