MOUNT VERNON — Suspended Mount Vernon Middle School science teacher John Freshwater continues to receive information and personal belongings from his former classroom from an anonymous source.



Joshua Morrison: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @


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31 Responses to “Anonymous source leads to 'black bag' find”

  1. Sophie, Surrey, UK

    Yes – I’m reading everyone’s comments on my PC here in England, having browsed over from The Guardian’s web site where, as you say, Mount Vernon is news.

    Here’s the link:

    Looks as though reason is winning the field in Mount Vernon: good for you. There have been casualties though, not least the Dennis family who, we hear, have had to leave town. Tough.

    Anyway – nice to visit (feel I should wave, or something…)

  2. Freshwater's Ploy

    is to threaten the Board. He and his helpers are the only ones who wants to keep dragging this out. The rest of us want it over. So read the last three sentences of his ultimatum to the Board at its recent meeting:

    “My attorney has indicated with the new anonymous materials being delivered there is no way of knowing when this case might end because he has to examine the materials and bring in more witnesses. I estimate Mr. Short has over 1,000 items from my classroom that my attorney will review. I am willing to explore a resolution before I learn the identity of the anonymous sender if the board so chooses. You can reach me by calling my house.”

    He wants a settlement according to HIS terms, sounds like.

  3. PridewithoutPrejudice

    It is dumbfounding to me that there seems to be an abundant amout of arrogance in the Mt. Vernon community pertaining to children. Have you lost your minds? You are talking about a child, not an animal. You all should be ashamed of yourselves who hold up your arms in support of Mr.Freshwater. I had seen once within these forums that a particular person said,” Mr. Freshwater seems to a part of this christian clique that because they are christians can do just about anything they want as long as they claim it to be in regards to their faith.” I have never read anything more true in these forums.

    The simple facts remain:
    1. He used an electrostatic device on a young child, that caused burns to the childs skin.
    2. He disobeyed his superiors by not removing religious items from his classroom.
    3. He has lied, and withheld incriminating testimony during his hearing.
    4. He has single handedly caused the Mt. Vernon school district to lose approximately a half million dollars because of these hearings trying to rebute the FACTS!!!That is how much he cares about the children of this community!

  4. drd

    It was performed with a generator that says DO NOT TOUCH THE OUTPUT. What would happen if you had a pacemaker?

  5. JRE


    Nope, not sure where you’re getting your information. You say your mind will not be changed by anything I or anyone else will say, so please research a bit or attend the hearing. There are various local sites following this hearing (pro-Freshwater, pro-firing, and neutral).

  6. PL

    Freshwater conducted a science expieriment with a student volunteer, he did not harm a soul (no pun intended). I’d like to shock some common sence into you fools. It was no different than when i was in school, maybe your children are too soft.

  7. drd

    Are you kidding? You didn’t see the signs around town? You didn’t read the articles stating how kids at the schools were treated if they didn’t “support” Mr Freshwater? You didn’t see that the family had a protective order to keep the childs name anonymous, then it was forced to be released in the adminisrtative hearing? No child or teenager should have to go though that!
    read the dispatch today. A man tatooed a one year olds bottom, and it is going away. He is in jail, yet the childs bottom didn’t fall off. How ignorant to say everything is OK because the childs arm didn’t fall off. I really am worried for this county!

  8. april

    hazeleyes, I appreciate your concern over the hatred that has been evident in this community since the Freshwater business began. I also find it interesting when supporters quote the First Amendment as if this issue was REALLY about a Bible.

    Teachers are bound by a Professional Code of Conduct. Are we to assume that you either dismiss the burning of a child or that you, somehow, believe THIS action is protected by the First Amendment and should not be considered a serious breech of this professional code?

    I support First Amendment rights. However, I also support educating yourself on real facts before you speak.

  9. hazeleyes

    It seems to me that you don’t want the facts about the Bible on the desk! I hope we are reading the same news, because that is what I have read over and over. Other teacher’s had Bible’s on their desks as well but this man was singled out according to what I have read also, and I have followed this like most of you. I posted the 2nd Amendment that should be enough, but no one is satisfied with that either, you have that taken away, then don’t go crying to your government , because you will never get it back! Its kind of like depicting parts of the Bible scriptures,, you take out certain parts that you see fit for your life, or what makes you feel comfortable for your life, to ease your conscience, and the heck with everything else. Now if we were talking about the book of satan, there would be no problem here , now would there? As far as the child being injured, did he lose an arm? Is he scarred for life? Maybe mentally , because his parents jumped the gun on all of this! Who forced them to leave? I do not believe that there was an angry mob sitting outside there home chanting at them, like what Mr Freshwater has been getting. I believe this was the family’s choice to do so. We all have choice’s to make and they did what they chose to do, maybe d/t their attorney’s advise?? Who knows? A form of pity? They didn’t get run out of town. No matter what anyone says to me on here it will not change how I feel. So you may as well give give up. You can voice all your opinions as I will do the same. But I stand fast on mine!!

  10. David

    When you harm a child in the manner John Freshwater did, you don’t get a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates.

  11. Knox Native

    Wow. I’ll bet there were black helicopters flying around and maybe they found Obama’s “real” birth certificate in that bag; and Sarah Palin is “very, very intelligent” (per local AM radio DJ’s.)…
    Has anyone else noticed the tie between Freshwater’s church and the local Tea Bag/912 crazies? I thought there were laws against tax-exempt churches involvement in politics. That a political group that claims to be for individual freedom would support a public teacher and his church (they also meet there) that burns crosses on and preach their crackpot religious/creationist beliefs to our kids in public schools shows just how clueless they really are.

  12. hazeleyes

    Such sarcasm and hate filled words! My point exactly! Should we lynch him in front of an angry mob? Would that make it all better for you hate filled people?

  13. David

    Here’s a timeline of events that happened:

    December 2007 – John Freshwater uses a electro-static device on a child.
    December 2007 – Child’s family brings up issue the following day with school. The family doesn’t want anything more than to make the administration at the time aware of the problem with Mr. Freshwater and the mark made. Administration makes Freshwater understand his role and is asked to comply with rules.
    April 2008 – John Freshwater flaunts the rules and becomes insubordinate. Punishment for his insubordination of his employer is to remove questionable religious materials from a public schoolroom.
    April 2009 – John Freshwater calls Dave Daubenmire from Columbus, Dave Daubenmire makes a spectacle of the situation by having John Freshwater read a statement prepared by Dave Daubenmire. Daubenmire makes it about the Bible. When it was clearly about the harming of a child.
    April – May 2009 – Investigation is launched.

    So those people out there that think it’s about the Bible… how do you explain him harming a child under his tutelage as a teacher?

    And to make things clear… he harmed a child – GOD wasn’t involved, nor was the Congress of the United States.

  14. hazeleyes

    Please read this,,

    ngress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  15. Robert M Kraus

    This state of affairs in Mount vernon is big news in England. Maybe you know this . . . The Guardian, a London newspaper, sent its Washington DC correspondent, Chris McGreal, to Mount Vernon, and he wrote a lengthy article about the situation , and it was published in The Guardian. Mount Vernon’s reputation is spreading around the world.

    r m kraus/akron

  16. whatev

    Amoung all the signs around town was one that said Keep the Bible, we support Mr Freshwater,the student goes.

  17. hazeleyes

    I have no idea what you are talking about in regards to “get rid of the kid” “keep the Bible”. So please do not assume anything regarding this.

  18. whatev

    hazeleyes it isn’t about a Bible on his desk. You should attend the hearings. You would see that kids have testified that he has taught these things in his classroom and done other things he shouldn’t have.

  19. hazeleyes

    Religion was not forced on anyone! This is the main problem here, RELIGION! Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill only it was said differently! According to testimony of students , Mr Freshwater did no such thing! The School Board has made this about RELIGION, when in fact it is not at all! It has to do with a BIBLE sitting on his desk. Which I believe anyone has the right to have one on their person at any time. The public has made this about RELIGION now. What happened to all the so called CHRISTIANS in our COMMUNITY??? I believe we just have what you might call SUNDAY CHRISTIANS at best! The rest of the week they raise cain!!! Stab their neighbors in the back, gossip about each other, what happened to our caring about one another? Now we are in very trying times and still persecuting a man who is fighting for his career to feed his family! In the name of RELIGION ! That everyone has made it out to be! It all comes down to this. This is what I am hearing! I no longer believe in ORGANIZED RELIGION! Because it is just that! Organized! By the people like all of you!!!! You sit in judgment of one man,,, one man! HOW WOULD ALL OF YOU LIKE TO BE IN HIS SHOES RIGHT ABOUT NOW????

  20. Adam

    Freshwater and his supporters are exactly the type of people I would expect to come up with some sort of ‘black bag’ defense. I’m sure it was actually dropped from some covert black helicopters sent from God’s Army?

    Mount Vernon is tired, the school district is tired, the students are tired, all tired of this issue. Freshwater and his ilk are happy little clowns who are probably not even interested in getting Freshwater off the hook. At this point, Daubenmyer can use this escapade as a platform for his (unsuccessful) political aspirations and they can funnel money to poor little Freshwater from Daub’s political coffers.

    Jesus wept.

  21. Miriam St. Jean

    Does anyone really believe this latest nonsense?

    A question for Hazeleyes – when you mentioned “hate” – you were referring in part to the people who placed signs around the county that read “keep the bible, get rid of the kid” – right? or maybe the high school kids who attacked the jewish student who brought his torah to school in support of freshwater – telling him he had no place there as he wasn’t christian – just a few incidents that immediately came to mind – figured those and others HAD to be what you were referencing….

  22. M Barkhurst

    This sounds so made up by Freshwater and his followers, that it no longer even surprises me. To what length will these people go to look like they have been wronged of by the school administration. I can’t even see a reason why the school administration would even want to keep these materials, and it doesn’t sound like anyone really did if it was kept were they said it was. If the teachers knew where his belongings were, why didn’t they say or do something? And how could it stay where they said it was for any length of time with students around? Did he ever ask the administration for his belongings back and did he have ample opportunity to take them with him when he left? It just doesn’t add up.

    The most logical explanation comes from the school administrators who said they didn’t have it. It is time for Mr. Freshwater and his church friends to stop playing this charade and allow the School Board to use the money they must spend on this case and put to use where it should be, on the childrens education. I’m sure the teachers wouldn’t mind if some of it went towards their salary as well. The School Board should publish how much this case has cost the schools so far.

  23. Miriam St. Jean

    Hazeleyes – “history” was made in Dover, PA, too – similar situation – tore a town apart with hate from both sides – because some wanted to force religion into the public sector – a violation of state and federal law

    I don’t want Mount Vernon to become another Dover, PA – Freshwater needs to take his soap box elsewhere – to a parochial setting – get over his martyr syndrome – and make “history” elsewhere……….

  24. whatev

    You are correct. I have too heard a lot of hate about this. It is really sad that the family had to move.

  25. whatev

    hazeleyes- I guess I see it oppposite as you. Did you read the lawyers response? He says the school never had this stuff but that Freshwater took it to his church. I can guess where it came from.

  26. John C. Davidson

    There was a time when it took a majority to cause a problem, now it only takes one or two to make a mountain of a malehill. Administrators love it, for it gives them an illusion that they’re earning that big paycheck. Parents and taxpayers remain dumbfounded.

  27. hazeleyes

    I find this very interesting that finally someone is stepping up and helping Mr Freshwater, it also is apparent to me there is some not so legal activity going on within the MtVernon School Board and they are attempting to use this fine man as a scapegoat. I applaud the individual who supplied the necessary papers and certainly hope you continue to do so for JusticeI It also seems to me that everyone just wants this to go away, forget about it, like it never happened! It will never be forgotten! History has been and is being made here, so beware! Who is paying the ultimate price? And for what and why? You talk about hate crimes? I have heard a lot of hate voiced on the subject matter on here, and I am so ashamed of the like of the most of you. While our boys go and fight over seas to protect our butts here all that is being done here is tearing down of our own kind!!! What is happening to our AMERICA?