Mount Vernon News

By Mount Vernon News
June 27, 2013 11:59 am EDT


MOUNT VERNON — The Supreme Court of Ohio has yet to render a decision with regard to the lawsuit filed by John Freshwater against the Mount Vernon City Schools.


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Oral arguments before the court were held on February 27, and Bret Crow, public information officer for the court, said in general it takes three to six months after oral arguments are held for the court to announce its decision on the merits of the case.

Three months in this case was marked on May 27, and six months from the oral argument date is Aug. 27. “We are still well within the general time frame,” said Crow.

John Freshwater filed a request with the Supreme Court of Ohio asking that body to overturn decisions by the Knox County Court of Common Pleas and the Ohio Fifth District Court of Appeals. The two previous courts upheld the Mount Vernon City School District’s termination of Freshwater’s employment as a middle school science teacher.

Timeline of the events leading up to the Supreme Court of Ohio filing:

•In April 2008, the Mount Vernon City Schools Board of Education authorized an independent firm to launch an investigation into Freshwater’s conduct and the materials he used in his eighth-grade science classroom.

•Based on the investigative findings, the board, in June 2008, passed a resolution of intent to terminate Freshwater’s teaching contract.

•Freshwater requested a hearing on the matter and, in October 2008, a hearing conducted by an impartial referee was initiated.

•In 2009, Freshwater filed a $1 million civil suit with the United States District Court. In that suit, he basically said the school board and others conspired and discriminated against him because of his religious beliefs. That suit was dismissed with prejudice in October 2010.

•The contract termination hearing was officially closed in January 2011 and the referee recommended that Freshwater’s contract be terminated. The board did so that same month.

•In February 2011, Freshwater filed an appeal with the Knox County Court of Common Pleas and in October 2011 that appeal was denied by Judge Otho Eyster.

•Freshwater appealed to the Fifth Appellate District Court of Appeals, and in March 2012, that court upheld Eyster’s ruling on the matter.

•Freshwater filed a notice of appeal with the Supreme court of Ohio on April 13, 2012, and the court accepted the appeal on July 5, 2012.

•Oral arguments were held Feb. 27, 2013.

Contact Pamela Schehl

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