Thursday, June 19, 2008

For Homework, Outline Leviticus

Full disclosure: We were not the type of students our Instructional Technicians looked forward to seeing each day. Not that we were bad...well, there was the Levi Ben Hur episode that sent the sub back to rehab...and there was the time we learned that applying voltage to a frog's leg could make it move so we tried it on Sally Konkolevski' Then there was the unfortunate combination of super glue and our History teacher's desk drawers. OK, maybe we were bad, but that's not the point. One of the reasons we were so emboldened was we knew our teachers couldn't do half of what they would have liked to have done to us without incurring the wrath of the authorities. Times, apparently, have changed.

The parents of a Mount Vernon boy who says his science teacher branded a cross on his arm have sued the teacher and the school board.

Now, when we first read that we thought, Man! Talk about your innovative discipline techniques. The only downside is he seems to be mixing church and state. Well, that and assault. So we're thinking, if fourth graders get arrested and taken away in handcuffs for throwing a tantrum, this guy's about to have a big o' can a law and order opened up on his evangelical behind.

The boy's parents complained to school administrators, who say they told Freshwater not to do it again.

Oh.'s works too.

In addition to the branding incident, Freshwater is accused of teaching the "theory" of intelligent design to his eighth-grade science class even though the district ordered him not to in 2003, the lawsuit says. "We're talking eighth grade here," said the principal. "It's not like anyone was listening to him."

Mr. Freshwater advised his students that although he is forced to teach from the textbooks, the teachings are wrong or not proven according to the Bible.

Where'd this guy get his science degree? The Pat Robertson College of Chemical and Hormonal Imbalance?

School administrators knew that Freshwater disregarded their instructions, but they allowed him to continue teaching and never disciplined him even after the branding. "Well, duh," said an administration spokesperson. "The guy brands his students for crying out loud. We weren't sure what he was capable of. You want to be the one to tell him he's fired?"

Freshwater told his students they could earn extra credit in his class if they watched the film Expelled, which mocks the theory of evolution. The assignment directed students to “ explain why it is important to examine this objectively and not let bias affect your observations."

"We figured out why the film was biased," said one student who asked not to be identified. "But we weren't sure that's what Mr. Freshwater was looking for."

Although the school district placed a monitor in Freshwater's classroom, Freshwater still tried to impose his Christian beliefs on students, according to the lawsuit and letters from the family's attorney, Jessica Philemond.

Attempts to contact the monitor, the Reverend Billie Bob of the Church of Jesus of the Tattoed Forearm were unsuccessful.

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