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Teacher accused of burning cross on student's arm

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  • Ohio teacher accused of branding cross on student's arm, teaching creationism
  • John Freshwater was reprimanded for refusing to move his Bible from his desk
  • School board passed resolution to terminate Freshwater's employment
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From Nkechi Nneji
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(CNN) -- School administrators in Ohio voted Friday to begin the process of firing a middle school teacher accused of burning a cross into a student's arm and refusing to keep his religious beliefs out of the classroom.

The Mount Vernon School Board passed a resolution to terminate the employment of John Freshwater, an eighth-grade science teacher for the past 21 years.

Freshwater, according to an independent report, used an electrostatic device to mark a cross on the arm of one of his students, causing pain to the student the night of the incident and leaving a mark that lasted for approximately three weeks.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, the student's family has filed a lawsuit.

Freshwater was also reprimanded several times for refusing to move his Bible from his classroom desk and teaching creationism alongside evolution, according to the 15-page independent report. The report also cites evidence that Mr. Freshwater told his students that "science is wrong because the Bible states that homosexuality is a sin and so anyone who is gay chooses to be gay and is therefore a sinner."

The Board of Education of the Mount Vernon City School District met in special session Friday to address the case.

Freshwater has the option to contest the process by requesting a formal hearing before the Board of Education. Neither Freshwater nor his attorney could be reached by CNN for comment.

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