Saturday, June 21, 2008

John Freshwater and a student of his . . .

Back on this thread, I wrote about John Freshwater, a science teacher from Mount Vernon, Ohio, who taught creationism in class and as a "demonstration of electricity" would brand crosses into students arms. I got this comment anonymously, and considering how some students are acting, I understand why someone might want to be anonymous about this. Anyway, here's the quote - it's already posted publicly so there's no confidence issues involved, I should note:

I am a student at Mount Vernon High School and last year had Mr. Freshwater as an 8th grade science teacher. This man should have been fired years ago, far before the branding of a students arm. I have been raised Catholic, and many times we asked him to allow Catholics to be added to his "Fellowship of Christian Athletes" conversation, allow a priest to come in to talk. His exact response was, "I as a True Christian can not allow my students to bear witness to this." I am an atheist though, and he constantly is mixing religion into the classroom, straight out shunning certain students. The only reason anyone is now coming out and saying anything is because in the last year Mount Vernon administration has changed, being that the previous principal and vice principal encouraged him and allowed him to do this.

No real surprise that a fundie Christian is anti-Catholic, is it? And it is interesting to have someone say that it had hitherto been systematic. Not surprising, of course, but interesting.

On the other hand, at least he got fired. I wonder if that would have been the case if the story hadn't gone national. Freshwater says he's going to appeal, but, yeah, right. Unfortunately, he hasn't been arrested for his child abuse (which is a bigger issue than even the teaching of religion in class - the man burned children in his care).


Chervil said...

Holy smokes - I hadn't heard about this story, but if it is true - I am absolutely shocked. Is it really true? It sounds so made up to me that somebody would BURN A STUDENT'S ARM??? Religion is a dangerous thing when people think they are in possession of the total truth. Very scary.

Unknown said...

Oh, yeah, it's true. It's not a joke or anything. A high school science teacher named John Freshwater, in Mount Vernon, Ohio, would give demonstrations on electricity that involved a little electric branding iron in the shape of a cross that he would use to burn that cross into the arms of some students. I gave some links in the main post, but if you google "John Freshwater" you'll get a lot more.

Rita said...

I would generally have the same reaction as chervil but I have been reading the book by, Robert B. Cialdini, Influence Science & Practice that Divabeg recommended.
Thanks for that recommendation. It's great book, well worth reading.
Also I was very much influenced by the darren brown videos.
As a matter of fact I've posted about the book & the videos & linked you of course. :)

Anonymous said...

Is anyone in America completely sane?

Unknown said...

Most Americans mostly are, yeah. I mean, maybe it's because I've lived in places like Maine and California long enough that I don't have the crazy shoved in my face quite so often anymore, but . . . mostly, yeah.

You come from England to California, you probably won't find too much differences in attitude than what you'd find in England. Most Americans are pretty OK people.

How it's gotten this way, where millions of pretty OK people are basically shutting up and sitting down while utter nutjobs ruin things is a long story, but the upshot is I think that the majority of Americans who are sane are intimidated by the ones who aren't. And, to be fair, they're spooky people - they're fanatics. They don't seem to be playing from the same book as the rest of us - they will make scenes, use violence, threats, and some of them might even kill you. That doesn't excuse the cowardice of people who refuse to stand up to this violent bullies, but it's something I think almost all countries deal with in some way or another. It wasn't too long ago that, y'know, Spain was a literally fascist state - from the late 30s to 1972. And even in Europe you can see all kinds of intimidation and fearmongering that has all kinds of effects - stuff like LePen in France or Joeder in Austria - while not having the kind of social penetration that you see with these nuts in America is obviously cut from the same kind of cloth.

So, I'm gonna say that most Americans are actually pretty OK people. ;)

divabeq said...

The other reason that so many Americans have been drawn into this who neo-conservative claptrap is that we don't actually have a free press anymore. Our media is controlled by big business, and big business has a strong influence on our government, as well.

I know it has an effect. I live in Texas, right among the crazies. I hear them quote the crap they heard on Fox News all the time.