An Ohio middle school teacher fired last year for teaching creationism and religious doctrine, and allegedly burning crosses on students’ arms during science experiments, will finally have his case heard by the state Supreme Court.
According to the Columbus Dispatch
, the court has agreed to hear the appeal of John Freshwater, who says the Mount Vernon, Ohio, school board violated his rights to free speech and academic freedom when it fired him after he failed to remove religious materials from his classroom and was accused of burning crosses on students’ arms during experiments.
R Kelly Hamility, Freshwater’s attorney, argued in his appeal request that his client was using the “universally acknowledged scientific method” of asking and answering questions to help students have a better understanding about science.
“This Court must intervene if students and teachers in America’s public schools are to remain free to engage in open, respectful dialogue about competing academic theories and their respective merits,” he wrote.
Two lower courts have already rejected Freshwater’s appeals, according to the Dispatch, which reported Friday that school board attorneys had argued the case had no constitutional merits.
The school board says it denied Freshwater’s request to teach “the alleged controversy surrounding evolution,” but he ignored the decision and taught religious creation theories anyway.
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