School hoping to scratch free speech argument

Friday, October 5, 2012
Bob Kellogg (

Attorneys for an Ohio school district have asked the state Supreme Court to strike down the First Amendment portion of an appeal briefing in the ongoing case of a middle school science teacher who was fired over concerns that he was injecting religion into the classroom.

When Ohio's high court agreed last month to hear the case, John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute told OneNewsNow it was taking John Freshwater's case "very, very seriously." The teacher was terminated from Mount Vernon Middle School in 2008 for discussing evolution vs. creationism. But the school is trying to get the Supreme Court to discount a key element of the case.

Whitehead, John (Rutherford Institute)"When the Supreme Court of Ohio decided to hear this case, they particularly noted the First Amendment issue being one issue they were going to consider, and I think that's why you're seeing the school filing a motion to strike that portion of the case out," Whitehead suggests.

He is not surprised by the request from the school district's attorneys.

"These are delaying tactics as well as a way to gut a case that could actually open up debate on an important topic, and that's origins," the attorney explains.

Whitehead believes the court will retain the First Amendment portion of the appeal briefing, because that is one of the issues it wishes to consider.

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