Posted in: Education

Ohio Teacher Fired For Having A Bible In The Classroom Fighting Termination In The State’s Highest Court

john freshwater ohio supreme court

Mount Vernon, OH – An Ohio teacher was fired for keeping a Bible on his desk and allegedly pushing his religious views. John Freshwater was terminated from his teaching position after an investigation concluded that he had shared his Christian beliefs in the classroom. Freshwater believes his firing was unconstitutional, and the case is now heading to the Ohio Supreme Court.

John Freshwater was accused of preaching his religious beliefs when the topics of homosexuality and evolution were discussed in the classroom. The Mount Vernon school teacher was also found to be insubordinate for failing to remove the Bible from his desk, ABC News reports.

An allegations that the Ohio teacher used a “science tool” to burn a cross on students arms was ultimately resolved and reportedly not a factor in his termination. The Ohio Supreme Court made the decision to hear Freshwater’s case on Wednesday. The Mount Vernon School District’s decision to fire the teacher was upheld by two lower courts. The school district spent nearly $1 million during the legal battle, according to the Christian Post.

The Ohio Supreme Court noted that John Freshwater can argue that the presence of a Bible, or other religious text, does not present a Constitutional basis for termination. The Christian teacher’s attorneys are reportedly also free to argue that it is not acceptable to fire an employee without giving “clear guidance” on permissible teaching methods and materials.

In court documents, Defense attorney Kelly Hamilton wrote:

“Freshwater did not engage in religious proselytization, he discussed a scientific theory that happens to be consistent with the teachings of multiple major world religions.”

The former Mount Vernon middle school science teacher allegedly encouraged students to examine hypotheses and theories and then question and differentiate between the information.

Do you think the Ohio teacher should have been fired for having a Bible on his desk and discussing religion in the classroom?

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24 Responses to “Ohio Teacher Fired For Having A Bible In The Classroom Fighting Termination In The State’s Highest Court”

  1. Debbie Thompson

    Your post about the Bible being taught in school is causing a lot of very hateful comments, hate their meanness think you should delete it… I am a Christian

  2. Mark S. Schroeder

    NO the Bible should not be taught in the schools no more than the Gita, Ramayana, Koran, or any other scripture. There are already too many theories, concepts, and idea's confusing people, we sure don't need to add to the mess.

  3. Robert Eugene Pease

    As long as he was not teaching from it, he should be allowed to have it. If he wants to read it on his breaks, that is his choice. If he had a satanic book there would be no problem. People are so anti-GOD it makes m sick.

  4. Steph Bazzle

    I believe that he should have the right to have the Bible in the room.

    HOWEVER, Creationism is NOT science, it is a religious belief system, and it should never be taught in a public school classroom.

    Moreover, a teacher who has been warned that his proselytizing is a problem should have the sense to stop it.

  5. Ray Campbell

    What? This creep should've been fired long ago.

    No taro cards, No horoscopes, No Voodoo dolls, No bible—Satanic, or Hebrew, or Xtian; NO SUPERSTITION BELONGS IN ANY LEARNING ENVIRONMENT that doesn't focus on the historical, and/or social values and disadvantages of said superstitions. They have their value, but this man is not a 'teacher' in any sense of the word.

  6. Ray Campbell

    Poor Xtain. This isn't church. I know it's hard to fathom down there in the bible belt Ky, but you don't get to delete reality simply because you don't agree with it. What you ask would be total authority over society and to control all aspects of public and private life whenever necessary— other societies have tried that, and failed miserably.

  7. Karolina Henriksson

    I'm from sweden. We have religion that is taught out in school. I'm against it. I do not belive in jesus and the christ or god. It evey grow persons choise to study it and learn it. But think its wrong to puch it on kids. A bible in school is even more wrong. Should not been allowed. I say it like this. If god and jesus have existed. Why does inocent kids die. Why does cancer exist. Why have so many good people have to die. Why can't my kid keep her health she has not doen anything wrong or bad or anything evil she is 7 years old. So many prairs a
    Nd wishes. No there is no thing as god and jesus. I have stop belinging in that crap.

  8. Warren Iwasyk

    The Bible is the BEST SELLING BOOK IN AMERICA AND TH WORLD TODAY! Being the best seller of all books there is nothing wrong with this teacher having this book in the class-room… This actually goes against her constitutional right. This teacher must get there job back with pay that was lost while off from this.. Also if I was the teacher the School would be looking at a Law Suit from me. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS.

  9. Rebecca Turner Buchanan

    If I may quote: "The former Mount Vernon middle school science teacher allegedly encouraged students to examine hypotheses and theories and then question and differentiate between the information." What a terrible, terrible thing! He was teaching the kids to think! The fact is, we do our children a great disservice when we tell them what to think, rather than giving them all sides of an issue and teaching them how to analyze them. Kids are not stupid. We should not insult them by narrowing their educational experience to what is currently politically correct. If we teach them all sides, we do take the risk that they will choose to believe differently than what we prefer, but do they not deserve the dignity of that choice? Any teacher who tells kids what to think without teaching them HOW to think is a failure as a teacher! Maybe some people don't want to bother to sort through stuff. Fine, don't. But many kids do. I did when I was a kid. I was a missionary kid, but we were not taught one thing to the exclusion of all others. We were encouraged to investigate, to test the theories, find the holes, do the comparisons. Question everything, and when you have answered the questions, be aware life will call your answers into question once more. Do not be afraid of challenges to your belief. If you find the answers to those challenges then your knowledge will be strengthened. Confusion is only a problem when you hide in your comfort zone, rather than relentlessly pursuing the truth to wherever it takes you. And if you should learn that the Bible has valid teachings, that it fits with science and history, why is that so terrifying? If people should disagree with us, why is that bad? The problem with education is this country is not too many choices, it is censorship and lack of open debate. I'm sorry, but, "if you don't like it then silence it" is not an acceptable teaching tool. Information does not equal coercion, and endorsement is not enforcement. If teachers must check their constitutional 1st Amendment rights at the door of the school, then the school itself is in violation of the constitution.

  10. Rebecca Turner Buchanan

    Three Questions

    You assert: Creationism is not science. How do you know? Because your teachers said so? Did they bother to give evidence for and against it so that you could judge between the two or did they just insist on preaching their narrow view to the exclusion of all others? There are many scientists who disagree with that statement. How much time did you spend researching both sides of the issue? Did you even read, or listen to experts on the other side of the debate, or did you just accept what you were told without further study? If you have not thoroughly researched both sides, are you really qualified to make that judgement?

    Why shouldn't religion be taught in school? The first amendment does not guarantee freedom FROM religion. It guarantees freedom OF religion. It seems to be politically correct to talk about not establishing a religion, but there is another phrase that states that the free exercise thereof will not be prohibited–which means that any and all can be equally taught and nobody can censor them. There are some that I would prefer were not taught, but if I censor them, who is to stop them from censoring me? Rather than censorship, why not open debate?

    Also, if religion should not be taught, then why is the religion of secular humanism allowed? The Humanist Manifesto states that it is a religion, and the supreme court agreed in 1961. Let's face it, it is based on macro evolution, which they call science, but macro evolution is not proven science. Much evidence exists to call it into question. I do not have enough faith to believe in it. As a belief system I find it rather pitiful, without power or hope or answers to the question of "Why?" And yet it is shamelessly taught in our schools? Why should Humanists be allowed proselytize and not everyone else? How does this not violate the establishment clause?

  11. Rebecca Turner Buchanan

    I am so sorry to hear about your daughter. Pain is hard to endure, but when your child suffers and there seems to be nothing anyone can do, it is doubly heartbreaking. I do not know that anything anyone can say can grant comfort, but I feel your pain and I ache for you.

    I understand your anger at God, really I do. For myself, I can tell you that it was through the pain of loss that those questions you ask were answered for me, and it was then that God made it clear that no matter how deeply I hated him, and I did, He still insisted on loving me. I will not throw my answers at you, as though they will solve all your problems. I will only say that though I do not know you, my heart grieves for you, and I pray that peace, healing and answers will come to you in your time of need.

  12. Chris Cunliffe

    Sure the bible sound be taught , but as cultural mythology not as scientific theory , anyone who knows a smattering of science knows that the bible doesn't contain theories but dogma and conjecture…..

  13. Sheila Vives

    Karolina, evil exists because we chose disobedience to God. Humans rejected God and his teachings therefore we lost God's protection. There is a very evil one in the world known as Satan, and when we reject and refuse God's good teaching through his son Jesus Christ, we allow the evil one to have more influence and power. God is not at fault for what we have chosen. We are.