Freshwater: Terminated

| 61 Comments

After a nearly two-hour executive session, the Board of Education of the Mount Vernon (Ohio) City School District tonight voted by a 4-1 margin to terminate the teaching contract of John Freshwater. I’ll have a copy of the resolution of termination later, but it was very short. It was read by the mover, Paula Barone, in so soft a voice that my digital recorder didn’t pick it up.

There was essentially no public discussion by the Board after the executive session and little before it. What little discussion there was before the executive session was generated by Steve Thompson, Board member and public Freshwater supporter. Thompson said that he had recused himself from deliberations on the federal litigation (though not from administrative hearing deliberations) on advice from attorneys David Millstone and Sarah Moore (as had Barone), and he wanted to know what was different that allowed Barone to withdraw her self-recusal regarding administrative hearing matters. Thompson said “I find a tremendous amount of hypocrisy in that decision.” The President of the Board, Dr. Margie Bennett, noted that in her letter of recusal Barone had said that various legal advisers, including those from the Ohio School Boards Association, had told her she had no ethical issue with participating in the matter, and Bennett affirmed that Barone had the right to withdraw her recusal. Barone said it was her right and her responsibility to participate in the deliberations.

With that the Board went into executive session, to emerge an hour and forty-five minutes later and adopt the termination resolution. Unless Freshwater elects to appeal to the Knox County Court of Common Pleas, the first step on the state court ladder, that ends this sorry affair.

61 Comments

Finally. Now I’m sure we can all put this sorry affair behind us. I’m sure that Freshwater will not pull some thing else to prolong this fiasco. I’m sure he will take the decision like a man and accept that he was wrong. I’m sure that he will finally see that it was the will of god that he get fired all along, or else he would never have been fired. I’m sure there will be no more little black boxes and mysterious phone calls. It’s over, done, finished. I hope.

What? Thompson voted No??? I can’t believe that the school board attorney allowed him to vote and that he actually voted no. After the referee agreed with them!

what???? said:

What? Thompson voted No??? I can’t believe that the school board attorney allowed him to vote and that he actually voted no. After the referee agreed with them!

That makes no sense. The referee’s recommendation is not binding on the Board, nor does the Board’s counsel have veto power over how members of the Board vote.

Does his voting leave the school board open for further litigation?

I guess I should have added “or future” litigation.

I thought Steve Thompson would not be allowed to vote because of his connection to the Community Council for Free Expression. I thought when he ran for school board he said he wasn’t doing it to benefit Mr Freshwater. I am surprised that he would go against the hearing referee, even though not binding. I would think it would open up more chances for legal action against them. He was on a committee that raises money to help Freshwater fight the school, the referee agreed with the original decision by the board. He goes against this decision and is the sole person to vote NOT to terminate. How can he be acting in the best interest of the school?

Couldn’t have happened to a more sorry excuse for a “science teacher.”

He’ll be martyr on the same order as Crockpot and Sternberg, who found that scientists were in fact prejudiced against the misuse of science.

Glen Davidson

Sliced, Diced, And Canned.

Well, what will we do now?

I feel kinda bad for the guy. I think he was trying to do some good. I don’t think of him as a “hucktster” like I think of the ID “fellows” or the Ken Ham type carnival barkers. Then on the other hand, who knows. Maybe he’s a wannabe huckster who can’t quite cut the huckster mustard.

what??? said:

I thought Steve Thompson would not be allowed to vote because of his connection to the Community Council for Free Expression.

There’s no one other than himself who can “not allow him to vote.”

I thought when he ran for school board he said he wasn’t doing it to benefit Mr Freshwater.

Yeah, and he lied. Your point is? :)

I am surprised that he would go against the hearing referee, even though not binding. I would think it would open up more chances for legal action against them.

I’m not surprised. His position has been clear for several years.

He was on a committee that raises money to help Freshwater fight the school, the referee agreed with the original decision by the board. He goes against this decision and is the sole person to vote NOT to terminate. How can he be acting in the best interest of the school?

Who said he was?

seabiscuit said:

Does his voting leave the school board open for further litigation?

Who’s going to bring suit? Surely not the side that prevailed in the vote.

RBH said:

Freshwater: Terminated Expelled

There. Fixed ;)

Unless the Board vote was public, it’s a strong (but probably safe) assumption that Thompson voted to retain Freshwater. It may have been any of the other board members, in a fit of divine perspiration.

Richard, thanks for the continued updates. I guess Freshwater is out of financial backing to risk going through further legal recourse, and as Hamilton has already screwed everything he can out of him, R Kelly’ll be unlikely to hang around for more humiliation. Any further insight on this?

Another “victim” to add to the Expelled list. They will just forget to mention the reasons that the guy was terminated.

Would a religious schools insurance allow hiring someone with Freshwater’s record?

The Founding Mothers said:

RBH said:

Freshwater: Terminated Expelled

There. Fixed ;)

Thanks! :)

Unless the Board vote was public, it’s a strong (but probably safe) assumption that Thompson voted to retain Freshwater. It may have been any of the other board members, in a fit of divine perspiration.

The vote was public; the Board can’t take action in executive session, but only discuss confidential matters.

Richard, thanks for the continued updates. I guess Freshwater is out of financial backing to risk going through further legal recourse, and as Hamilton has already screwed everything he can out of him, R Kelly’ll be unlikely to hang around for more humiliation. Any further insight on this?

I strongly doubt that Freshwater will take it any further. I hope he doesn’t. It really is time for him to try to get on with his life. I don’t know about his current principal advisers, Matolyak and Hamilton. They’re operating on their own agendas.

RBH said:

seabiscuit said:

Does his voting leave the school board open for further litigation?

Who’s going to bring suit? Surely not the side that prevailed in the vote.

I suppose that Freshwater could try to argue that the Board’s decision is invalid because it was tainted by the conflict of interest on the part of the Board member who voted *for* him.…

Would there be more mileage him trying to argue that the three Board members who were part of the original decision to sack him ought to have recused themselves? The arrangement does seem to be a little “incestuous”, but presumably this is because the Board is at the top of the hierarchy and the administrative hearing process is a later addition grafted on by legislative fiat.

mountvernon1805, a sometime commenter here, has put up videos of pertinent parts of the Board of Education meeting. I haven’t watched them yet to see if they’re complete.

I anxiously await a document that details the consequences of Freshwater’s actions:

1) lost his job/career as public school teachr, check 2) (paid by insurance) about $1M in damages, check 3) out of pocket/legal expenses? 4) farm? 5) lost wages/pension?

it’s not just schadenfreude, I believe it is important that future Freshwater wannabe’s realize the stakes of the table they are playing at. Maybe take a job at a religious school to begin with? or run a ministry some way that doesn’t involve taxpayer dollars/ public school time? whatever - as long as they are NOT IN MY KIDS’ SCHOOL

Does this mean PT will finally stop talking about the pathetic little twit?

The Columbus Dispatch has a story here.

Cost to the Mt. Vernon School system: $902,765, most of that to their lawyer. $35,749 went to the referee. Court reporting costs were $45,747! (That’s the making of transcripts of all the testimony.)

Somebody asked if Freshwater can appeal. Yes, if he does, the next step would be the Knox County Court of Common Pleas (that’s the standard place for an appeal of an administrative decision).

Congratulations RBH. Thanks for your great job in covering this. I hope we can finally put this behind us.

Ahcuah said:

The Columbus Dispatch has a story here.

Cost to the Mt. Vernon School system: $902,765, most of that to their lawyer. $35,749 went to the referee. Court reporting costs were $45,747! (That’s the making of transcripts of all the testimony.) [snip]

And of course none of this is Freshwater’s fault. It’s the fault of those meddling parents who saw fit to challenge his teaching methods and activities…

Thompson said that he had recused himself from deliberations on the federal litigation (though not from administrative hearing deliberations) on advice from attorneys David Millstone and Sarah Moore (as had Barone), and he wanted to know what was different that allowed Barone to withdraw her self-recusal regarding administrative hearing matters.

If I’m reading this right, you are saying Thompson recused himself from A but not B, then complained when another board member recused themselves from A but not B?

eric said: If I’m reading this right, you are saying Thompson recused himself from A but not B, then complained when another board member recused themselves from A but not B?

That’s correct, with the added fillip that the second board member–Barone–was advised that she did not have an ethical issue with either A or B, while the first board member–Thompson–was advised by counsel that he did have an ethical issue with A. I don’t what advice, if any, was given him about B.

Richard: For all of us that followed your many posts on this sordid affair, thank you for your indefatigable and detailed efforts!

Dennett: Religion is the best vehicle ever invented for social conflicts.

I wonder how divided Mt. Vernon is by now? Religion is always a good way to divide people as we’ve seen in the past and recently.

IIRC, Dover even today is still divided between fundies and moderates.

And where will the fundie death cultists strike next? We all know there will be a next time.

Maybe it will be La Sierra University in SoCal. The Seventh Days have spent a few years trying to organize a witch hunt against evolutionists without making too much progress.

RBH said:

mountvernon1805, a sometime commenter here, has put up videos of pertinent parts of the Board of Education meeting. I haven’t watched them yet to see if they’re complete.

Not sure if you’ve tried to watch the videos yet but they are very hard to hear. Not really MV’s fault - there were no mics.

http://www.mediafire.com/?m3utnmmkde0

I agree with Mr Thompson on one thing: actions DO speak louder than words!!

ted lawry said:

Does this mean PT will finally stop talking about the pathetic little twit?

I don’t understand your gripe, not at all. Nobody forces you to read any of the threads, so why complain that you are tired of a particular topic? Just skip those posts and everything will be okay.

Richard, I just want to join in on the choir of thanks to you for all of your efforts to keep us all up-to-date. Unlike ted above, I check in with PT every day HOPING for more news about the war on science education in general, and the Freshwater saga specifically. It all makes me wish I was a PT reader during the Dover shenanigans.

Ron Okimoto Wrote:

Another “victim” to add to the Expelled list. They will just forget to mention the reasons that the guy was terminated.

The DI has taken pains to keep him off their list of martyrs, apparently because he undermines their “ID is not creationism” chant. Any bets as to whether they will break their silence now?

I’ll add another congratulation to RBH for doing the heavy lifting reporting the whole mess.

As for what Freshwater does next…Yes, so far as we can tell, he lacks resources to continue making a nuisance of himself. On the other hand, he can now hit the lecture circuit and raise money from the fundamentalists as a “martyr” to their cause. That could–entirely too easily–provide enough to mount an appeal.

Whether he’d use Hamilton some more or not is an open question. He might even be able to find another lawyer who would take a contingency case to go after Hamilton for failing to represent him properly.

–W. H. Heydt

Old Used Programmer

DS said:

DMR said:

Mr. Freshwater has stood for the truth that was taught since the 1600’s in schools in America. In schools before 1963, the Bible was read and prayers were made to the Almighty God. It was an integral part of our history. Basic Christian thought and teaching was central in all public schools. Atheism has now taken control for the most part and led our public schools down the road to depravity, leaving our society with huge crime rates, full prisons, and an anti-christ attitude among many. Many in this blog display their glee at the removal of Freshwater and think this will be the last of it. I beg to differ. In the court of heaven, when your life is over, each of us will stand before God to give account of our actions. This incident will come up again, only the truth will reign, not man’s opinion. The school board and teachers and principle will stand before their Creator to give account for what they did. My prayer is that they recognize their error before that time.

Well then, in that case presumably Freshwater will stand before god as well. He broke the law, He endangered his students. He cheated =his students of the education they deserved. He has a lot of explaining to do. I don’t think god will be pleased with him. Why are you?

Not to mention not telling the truth. Thou shalt not lie? This actually helps secure that Christians can keep practicing their religion and should not have fear of someone taking their religious freedoms away.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on January 10, 2011 9:33 PM.

Moon was the previous entry in this blog.

Freshwater: The termination resolution is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.381

Site Meter