In a case that’s lasted more than six years, there’s finally a happy resolution in the legal battle between Creationist teacher John Freshwater and the Mount Vernon City School District Board of Education.
A quick refresher: In 2008, school board members voted 5-0 to fire Freshwater, a Mount Vernon Middle School science teacher, after learning that he had preached Creationism to the students, handed out flyers in class urging kids to attend a presentation by the “Answers in Genesis” ministry, left the Bible out on his desk during class even after being told to stop, hung a Ten Commandments sign in his classroom, offered extra credit to students who watched the Ben Stein pro-Intelligent Design movie Expelled, and burned a student in the arm with a Tesla coil… in the shape of a cross:
That set off a long appeals process that led to a 4-3 decision by the Ohio Supreme Court last year in favor of the district. The Court said the district was right to fire Freshwater for his insubordination.
The decision held little back:
Freshwater not only ignored the school district’s directive, he defied it. After he was directed to remove the items, Freshwater deliberately added to them, incorporating the Oxford Bible and Jesus of Nazareth into the classroom. He then refused to remove his personal Bible from his desk, and refused to remove a depiction of former President George W. Bush and Colin Powell and others in prayer from his wall.
Freshwater is fully entitled to an ardent faith in Jesus Christ and to interpret Biblical passages according to his faith. But he was not entitled to ignore direct, lawful edicts of his superiors while in the workplace.
It was a victory for anyone who opposed proselytization in public schools.
But, as expected, Freshwater’s legal team appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
This morning, the Court released a list of cases they will hear and those they will not. Amidst the chaos of gay marriage becoming legal in a handful of states as a result of the Court not hearing those appeals, the Freshwater appeal was also rejected:
Let’s hope the Freshwater saga is finally over. He won’t be back in a public school classroom anytime soon and this decision should put a stop to further attempts. He was unqualified to teach science, his district was right to fire him, and he’s finally left with no option but to accept that.
(Large portion of this article were published earlier)