Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Freshwater Press Release: “Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Mount Vernon City School Board”

The following press release was provided today (6-10-09) by John Freshwater’s media contact person, Don Matolyak:

Federal Lawsuit Filed Against
Mount Vernon City School Board


A federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of John Freshwater, 8th grade science teacher at Mount Vernon Middle School against The Mount Vernon City School District Board of Education, as well as select members of the board, and administrators. Also included in the suit are Thomas and Julia Hurlevi, principals of H.R. on Call, Inc., and unnamed John and Jane Does.

The lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, cites free speech and equal protection violations under the US Constitution. Violations of Ohio Public Policy, religious harassment, retaliation, conspiracy, defamation, and breach of contract are also addressed in the claim filed Tuesday.

"The truth needs to be heard and I look forward to resolving this situation so I can get back to teaching science." Freshwater said, "I miss teaching and want to get back in the classroom."

The civil action shows Freshwater followed the directives given by the administration regarding items located in his classroom in April of 2008, but for the removal of his personal Bible from his desk. While the board continues to claim that this is ‘not about the Bible on his desk’, it was Freshwater’s public statements and refusal to remove his Bible from his desk which prompted the board’s actions and caused the chain of events that lead to this lawsuit.

The claim shows that Freshwater was discriminated against because of his personal religious beliefs and has been treated differently than other teachers in the district. The action shows a concerted effort was made by members of the MVCSDB and the administration to pose Freshwater in a bad light. The administration ignored their duties in following the appropriate process with Freshwater and was negligent in their own knowledge and training of board policy.

Throughout the course of the public hearings it became obvious that many of the assumptions presented against Freshwater were inaccurate, fabricated, unsubstantiated, or simply untrue, yet these accusations were used as the premise for Freshwater’s dismissal.

The lawsuit explains how investigators, hired by the board, failed to interview key individuals who had relevant information, refused to follow-up on leads which could have acquitted Freshwater, misrepresented documents within their report, and inserted inflammatory statements and personal bias.

Attorney for the MVCSD Board of Education, David Millstone, and members of the board conspired with others to alter the investigation and bias the hearing process. Attorney Millstone knowingly crossed lines of separation by reviewing drafts of the ‘independent’ investigative report in advance and providing information to H.R. on Call causing them to revise and further bias the report. Millstone also repeatedly collaborated with the Doe family, and their legal counsel, against Freshwater even while the Doe family had an action against the MVCSD.

The suit demonstrates how the MVCSD mishandled this situation by choosing to single Freshwater out and tarnish his reputation rather than investigate the facts.

Superintendant Steve Short, Middle School Principal William White, former school administrator Lynda Weston, school board members Ian Watson and Jody Goetzman, and the Hurlevi’s are all named individually, as well as in their official capacities, in the claim while Millstone is named only in his capacity as an agent for the MVCSDBOE.

According to Freshwater’s attorney R Kelly Hamilton, the preference was to complete the public hearing before filing any action, but the refusal of board members to testify has delayed the hearing and pushed against the statute of limitations requirements.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Like most fundietards Freshwater does not think he has to follow the same rules as the rest of us. When these people don't get their way they whine like children and cry 'persecution.' No sane jury would award this moron one thin dime!

Anonymous said...

It is sad when facts are so totally different from the published reports. The thorough examination, under oath, is bringing to light a whole new picture of John Freshwater. A 'sane jury' will have much more to consider than the general public has been given. The accusers must now give an account.

Anonymous said...

I love the religious press coverage of this. "Freshwater, a science teacher, was teaching the theory of evolution, along with the topic of Intelligent Design..." The Columbus Dispatch quotes his students as saying they loved his classes because they got to debate the theory of evolution!!! Oh, if science could only be proven! But then it would be boring. What is this guy, a sleeper cell?

Anonymous said...

An analogy would be someone hired as a Spanish teacher going into a classroom and insisting on teaching French, saying he had a First Amendment right to speak French any time he wanted to. His claim is just as ridiculous. So he wouldn't put his Bible away; it was irrelevant. If a teacher takes out a Bible, then he can't be fired? The school said it had nothing to do with his Bible. Just look at his actions.

Anonymous said...

How we wish there was more "accountability in the media." After listening to days of sworn testimony in the hearings, it has become apparent to me that John Freshwater is not guilty of any of the charges except of having a Bible on his desk. The media has, for the most part, only given the accusers side. There has been little publication of the actual facts being presented in the case. He has been, and is being, publicly smeared with guilt, while the unfolding facts declare his innocence. It seems to me that the above mentioned suit will finally bring the accusers to an accountability.

Anonymous said...

Yeah right. All of the media outlets attend the hearing too. Why do they hear something different than you do????

mountvernon1805 said...

Anonymous said: “Yeah right. All of the media outlets attend the hearing too. Why do they hear something different than you do????”

Not all of the media outlets attend the hearing. Only two of them do on a regular basis—The Columbus Dispatch and the Mount Vernon News. (The photo I have at the top of the webpage is of the media on day one of the hearing.)

I’m reluctant to speculate at this time on the reason(s) that the two media outlets sometimes report things differently than I do. For some background information on these two organizations involvement in this case, see the following two articles:

“Mount Vernon Middle School: “Behind the Scenes” Award Goes to News Reporter”

“Dispatch Editor and Son Testified for MV School Board”

Anonymous said...

"I’m reluctant to speculate at this time on the reason(s) that the two media outlets sometimes report things differently than I do."

Because they don't cherry-pick the info like you do. By wanting to defend Freshwater so badly, you have ignored or overlooked the other info. I get the impression you don't even understand why anyone thinks Freshwater did multiple things wrong.

Anonymous said...

I agree!!

mountvernon1805 said...

Anonymous said: “Because they don't cherry-pick the info like you do. By wanting to defend Freshwater so badly, you have ignored or overlooked the other info. I get the impression you don't even understand why anyone thinks Freshwater did multiple things wrong.”

You do realize, I hope, that this post was titled “Freshwater Press Release.” The other information on the case—and the other sides to the story—is reported elsewhere on this website. This website does not “cherry-pick.”

I seek the truth and report it—if that isn’t the type of journalism you like to read you may want to visit a different website.

Anonymous said...

Nobody cares about this case. Yes, there is freedom of religion, BUT there is also separation of church and state. Freshwater has clearly crossed the line. He is insubordinate and failed to meet the stipulations of his contract.

Why are we wasting the public's money on this?

Anonymous said...

I'm a Muslim. Freshwater's viewpoint offends me. He should be fired.

Anonymous said...

I'm a paganist. Freshwater's viewpoint offends me. He should be fired.

Anonymous said...

I'm an atheist. Freshwater's viewpoint offends me. He should be fired.

Anonymous said...

A man who wants to teach shouldn't allow his trial to be delayed past the beginning of the school-year. All Freshwater wants to do is waste taxpayers dollars. Freshwater doesn't care about his students, just his own agenda.

Anonymous said...

Atheists, Muslims, and Pagans don't belong in Mount Vernon. I support John Freshwater!!!

mountvernon1805 said...

I've checked the records and the last six anonymous comments were posted by the same person.

That person takes Multiculturalism to a new level. He/she is a Muslim, "paganist" and atheist. He/she not only doesn't care about this case and believes that Freshwater has crossed the line but also states that he/she supports Freshwater!

What's with the dishonesty, anonymous?

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