21 June 2008

Teaching Christianity

It seems that an Ohio public school teacher has taken his faith to the extreme in teaching his beliefs to his students. John Freshwater, a teacher at Mount Vernon Middle School, taught a literal interpretation of creationism in his science classes and liberally displayed religious material throughout his classroom in spite of protests from other teachers and an order to remove them.

However, the most serious of the charges relate to the burning of the image of the cross onto the arms of some of his students. The images lasted three to four weeks but ultimately faded away. Despite all of the charges it seems that Freshwater has many supporters who argue that he is teaching the values of the community. His students have also come out in support and say that he is a "great guy". Freshwater has been employed by the school district for some 21 years.

This is not a question of faith but whether the behaviour is appropriate in the classroom setting? The burning of the cross onto the skin of students is somewhat extreme but the teaching of creationism does not appear to be a serious offence even if it is taught in a science class. This assumes though that it is not taught exclusively or at the expense of other legitimate topics.

The decision on Freshwater's behaviour is pending.

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