(Full Title: Freshwater v. Mount Vernon City School District Board of Education et al.)
On June 9, 2009, John Freshwater filed suit against the Board of Education of the Mount Vernon City School District, Ohio, and against several individuals and organizations.
Freshwater, an eighth-grade science teacher for the district, had been the subject of an investigation commissioned by the Board after student and teacher complaints. The Board determined that Freshwater had proselytized in class, had taught creationism and omitted required material on evolution, and had branded students using a Tesla coil. The parents of one child, who had been branded with a cross, filed suit against Freshwater and the district. That suit was settled in late 2010 when the family was awarded $455,502 plus $140,000 for legal fees. The Board voted unanimously on June 20, 2008, to terminate Freshwater's employment.
Freshwater appealed the Board's decision, and a Termination Hearing on the matter began that October; it is also ongoing.
In his lawsuit, Freshwater names as defendants the Board, two individual Board members and four other district administrators, the investigative firm and its two employees, and up to eight unknown (even to him) "employees, agents or others associated" with the Board who may have "conducted or facilitated" actions against him. The original complaint included sixteen counts including religious discrimination, defamation, conspiracy and breach of contract. An amended complaint includes Freshwater's wife, Nancy, as an additional plaintiff, and adds a seventeenth count of loss of consortium.
On October 21, 2010, all counts were dismissed by the involved parties "with prejudice," meaning that the plaintiffs' complaints would not again be raised in a court of law. This action indicated that a settlement was reached outside of the courtroom and the case has ended.
Key legal documents for this case are provided at the bottom of this page. They are arranged in chronological order.
Related NCSE Articles
Related Off-Site Material
Extensive blog coverage at The Panda's Thumb, including Richard Hoppe's day-by-day accounts of Freshwater's termination hearing
Coverage of the Freshwater Controversy at the Mount Vernon News