MOUNT VERNON — The Ohio Supreme Court is set to hear the case Wednesday between former Mount Vernon teacher John Freshwater and the Mount Vernon Board of Education over Freshwater’s firing two years ago.
The school board had suspended Freshwater in 2008, but a public hearing on his possible firing lasted until Jan. 6, 2011, when a hearing referee determined the school had good cause to terminate the teaching contract of the former middle school science teacher.
The referee’s report addressed four specific areas the board said were grounds for contract termination: Injuring a student by improperly using a high-frequency electrical device [referred to as a Tesla coil throughout the hearing]; failure to adhere to the established curriculum; failure to follow the guidelines as the faculty monitor of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes; and disobedience of orders.
Freshwater had appealed the firing through the local and district courts, with the Fifth Appellate District Court of Appeals ruling in March 2012 there were sufficient legal grounds for the school to terminate his contract.
Oral arguments for the case are set to be held Wednesday at the Ohio Supreme Court in Columbus. During the arguments, which are open to the public, an attorney for each side will have an opportunity to make a presentation to the court and answer questions posed by the justices.
There is no set time period for the justices to reach a decision, but the court’s website states “all cases argued during a term of Court are decided before the summer recess begins, usually by the end of June.”