Magazine article HRMagazine

Teacher's Display of Religious Items Justified Firing

Magazine article HRMagazine

Teacher's Display of Religious Items Justified Firing

Article excerpt

The Ohio Supreme Court affirmed the termination of a public school teacher who was charged with insubordination for ignoring an order to remove religious displays in his classroom and for continuing to inject his personal religious beliefs into his plan and pattern of instruction after being directed not to do so (Freshwater v. Mount Vernon City School District Bd. Educ., No. 2013-Ohio-5000).

"When a teacher has been insubordinate, good and just cause exists for a board of education to terminate that teacher's contract," the court said.

The teacher, who taught eighth-grade science, was fired based on charges that, despite the school board's instructions to stop including his own Christian faith in his classroom, the teacher did so as early as 1994 and continued to do so until he was fired in 2011. The school board also alleged that the teacher surreptitiously supplemented his curriculum with religious handouts and showed videos on creationism and intelligent design, displayed religious materials and made various statements about the Bible in his classroom. …

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