UPDATE: Ohio Court: No Reconsideration For Fired Teacher

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

UPDATE 1/22/2014 12:50 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio Supreme Court won't reconsider its decision upholding the dismissal of a public school science instructor who refused to remove religious materials from his classroom.

The court denied John Freshwater's request for reconsideration in a split decision Wednesday. The court previously ruled the Mount Vernon district had grounds to fire Freshwater in 2011 for insubordination for keeping religious books and a poster of a praying president.

Freshwater's attorneys argued the court wrongly interpreted his attempts to deal with what they called vague requests from administrators with flat-out insubordination.

Attorney Rita Dunaway says they're disappointed and considering their legal options.

Three justices dissented Wednesday, saying the case could be a basis for districts to fire teachers for insignificant reasons. Their opinion says evidence against Freshwater wasn't sufficient to establish insubordination.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE 11/26/2013 3:00 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A public school science instructor who refused to remove religious materials from his classroom asks the Ohio Supreme Court to reconsider its decision upholding his dismissal.

Attorneys for John Freshwater say the court wrongly interpreted his attempts to deal with what they call vague requests from administrators with flat-out insubordination.

The attorneys asked the court Tuesday to reconsider its decision to address what they call erroneous conclusions.

A divided court ruled last week the Mount Vernon school district had grounds to fire Freshwater in 2011 for insubordination for keeping religious books and a poster of a praying president.

The court also concluded the district infringed on Freshwater's First Amendment rights by ordering the removal of his personal Bible from his desk.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio Supreme Court says a public school district was legally justified in firing a science teacher who refused orders to remove classroom displays of religious materials.

With three justices dissenting, the court ruled Tuesday that the Mount Vernon district had grounds to fire John Freshwater for insubordination for keeping religious books and a poster of a president praying.

The court's lead opinion says the district infringed on Freshwater's First Amendment rights by ordering the removal of his personal Bible but found he was insubordinate for keeping other items.

The court didn't address whether Freshwater unconstitutionally taught his religious beliefs.

Freshwater's attorney said she was disappointed but couldn't comment further because she hadn't discussed the decision with Freshwater.

Messages were left for the school district's superintendent and its attorneys.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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