Teacher Who Branded Students Fired He slammed evolution, burned crosses onto 8th-graders' arms By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Jun 21, 2008 8:20 AM CDT 1 comment Comments In this photo released by the city school district in Mount Vernon, Ohio, a student shows a marked arm. (AP Photo/Mount Vernon City Schools) (Newser) – An Ohio school board has voted unanimously to fire a science teacher who used an electrostatic device to brand 8th-graders with a cross, the AP reports. Science teacher John Freshwater, who says the marks were simply Xs, had been in trouble with the board before for teaching creationism, slamming evolution and other scientific theories, and keeping a Bible on his desk. School board investigators said that Freshwater's students often had to be re-taught science when they got to high school. A friend of the popular teacher defended him. "With the exception of the cross-burning episode, I believe John Freshwater is teaching the values of the parents in the Mount Vernon school district," he told the Columbus Dispatch.