Teacher Accused of Burning Crosses on Students’ Arms

June 20, 2008

Mount Vernon Middle School teacher John Freshwater preached his Christian beliefs despite complaints by other teachers and administrators. He even went as far as to use a device to burn the image of a cross on students’ arms, according to the report filed by independent investigators, consulting firm H.R. On Call Inc. He taught creationism in his science class and was insubordinate in failing to remove a Bible and other religious materials from his classroom, the report said.

School board members were scheduled to meet Friday afternoon to discuss the findings by the investigators, hired by the district to investigate. The report was released Thursday.

The report comes one week after a family filed a federal lawsuit in Columbus against Freshwater and the school district. The lawsuit claims Freshwater burned a cross on their child’s arm that remained for approximately four weeks using a tool known as a high-frequency generator.

Several students interviewed by investigators described Freshwater, who has been employed by the school district for 21 years, as a great guy. The district’s director of teaching and learning, Lynda Westontold investigators that she had been dealing with complaints about Freshwater for much of her 11-year tenure at the district

Other findings show that Freshwater taught that carbon dating was unreliable to argue against evolution.

iNPLACENEWS