John Freshwater’s Appeal is Denied

Remember John Freshwater, the Creationism-spewing science teacher who branded his students with a cross?

He had been fired (after a long court battle)… but he appealed the decision.

Today, Judge Otho Eyster denied the appeal.

… there is clear and convincing evidence to support the Board of Education’s termination of Freshwater’s contract(s) for good and just cause…

Freshwater can appeal again if he wishes, but this has been a losing battle for him since day one. There’s no reason to think a judge would suddenly rule in his favor.

Here’s hoping his students, wherever they are now, have learned some real science in his absence.

(via Panda’s Thumb)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Anonymous

    Any bets that he still thinks that he’s not in the wrong?

    • Rich Wilson

      With God, all things are permitted.

      • Dan

        I swear i’ve heard that in a video game before…

    • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

      They’d lose that bet! :-)

  • Gabriel

    I am still shocked that the child’s parents didn’t press aggravated assault charges. A teacher brands my child that teacher is going to prison. He could have appealed his firing from state prison. Branding a child should be good for at least a 5 year sentence.

    • Anon

      I’d edit that to say, “…is going to prison after he gets out of the hospital.”

    • Rich Wilson

      I’ve always assumed that since he only branded two students, that they were willing.  Reading the NYTimes article again, it’s not clear.  It says he was ‘accused of burning a cross onto the arms of at least two students and teaching creationism’  But nothing about charges.  I think he was just fired, with no criminal charges made.  So it would be up to a parent to bring civil charges.  Maybe they don’t feel the case is strong enough, or worth the effort.  They would probably have to sue the district to hope to get any money.

      • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

        High school students aren’t old enough to give consent for something like that. You have to be 18 to get a tattoo, for example.

        • Rich Wilson

          Agreed, but if it was kids who volunteered, they’re probably the same kind of Christian as the teacher, and their parents may support the teacher and not want to press charges.  The fact that this went on for years makes me think it was parents of non-branded kids who raised the alarm, and it was more “This teacher is teaching creationism, partly evidenced by the fact that he’s branding crosses” than “this teacher branded my kid”.

          Heck, I think branding any kids should be enough for the AG to take action.

  • Guest

    How the fuck does anyone think that branding a student is appropriate? If they didn’t want to be branded, it’s assault and they should go to prison. If they did ask for it in the spur of the moment – “hey, wouldn’t it be cool if you branded me?”, it’s the high school teacher’s responsibility to say, “No fucking way, that’s not a good idea.” If the student had expressed an interest in branding for a while, as a sort of hardcore tattoo, then the high school teacher’s responsibility is to say, “No, I can’t do it. You need to get your parent’s permission and you need to find a professional who will do the job in a sanitary, professional, and safe way within a very clean, medicinal environment.” How could ANYONE think it appropriate to brand a student?! I cannot understand the thought process behind something that stupid and cruel.

  • Guest

    [correction ] If the student didn’t want to be branded, the teacher should go to prison*

    • Anonymous

      If a child has not reached the age of majority then whether they consent to the branding or not is irrelevant.


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