The Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of a science
teacher who was fired in 2008 for teaching students to think
critically about creation and evolution.
The board of education for the Mount Vernon City
Schools accused John Freshwater of improperly injecting
religion into the classroom (see earlier story). But The Rutherford
Institute's John Whitehead maintains that the teacher's
academic freedom was violated.
"Academic freedom says that students have a right to
hear certain information, and teachers have a right to teach," the
attorney explains. "What he did here was basically inject some
critical thinking in terms of the theory of evolution to the
classroom, which got him in trouble. The other big issue, of
course, in the case is that he kept a Bible on his desk."
Though courts typically tend to side with the
schools, Whitehead says the justices have made an
"It's difficult to know how the court's going to go on this,
although we do know they asked for a briefing on the merits, which
is really good," he details. "In other words, they want to see
arguments on both sides, and I think that's a sign that they're
taking this case very, very seriously."
Freshwater is a Christian who was an exemplary teacher at Mount
Vernon Middle School for 20 years.