MOUNT VERNON — Attorneys for the Mount Vernon Board of Education on Monday filed a motion with the Supreme Court of Ohio to strike, or disregard, parts of the merit brief former teacher John Freshwater filed with the court.
The board’s motion mentions apparent discrepancies between documents Freshwater originally filed when asking the court to hear his appeal [Memorandum in Support of Jurisdiction] and the subsequent merit brief. The merit brief, the board contends, attempts to improperly introduce points of law that were not raised in the administrative hearing or in the lower appellate courts.
“Current arguments are a completely different approach to the appeal than that which was accepted for review,” the motion states.
The merit brief set forth an argument that the board terminated Freshwater’s employment contract “based on the ‘content or viewpoint’ of his religious discussions with students and his use of supplemental materials in class.” The motion to strike states that argument was never previously raised, nor was the merit brief’s contention that Freshwater’s termination was a form of “government censorship.” Rather, the motion to strike states, the proposition to review contains an argument about whether the board was clear in letting Freshwater know what materials and teaching methods are acceptable or unacceptable.
The motion also took exception to Freshwater’s merit brief claim that the board is hostile toward religion and Freshwater was fired for teaching, in effect, intelligent design and/or creationism.
Motion to Strike Adode Reader required
The motion further alleges that “Freshwater has never made the argument [in court] that his teaching of intelligent design and creationism was acceptable as scientific theories.
Freshwater’s argument in this regard has evolved over time” as follows:
•Freshwater adamantly denied teaching intelligent design and creationism during the administrative hearing.
•Freshwater claimed in his complaint that he taught “about some commonly held beliefs of at least three of the world’s major religions.”
•At the Court of Appeals, Freshwater argued he just wanted to encourage students to differentiate between facts and theories and discuss “instances where textbook statements were subject to intellectual and scientific debate.”
In his merit brief, the motion continues, “Freshwater argues that he did teach creationism and intelligent design since they are permitted concepts.”
The motion also asks the court to strike other material that was not introduced earlier and therefore not a part of the official court [of appeals] record.
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