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Ohio Court Spars With Lawyers in School Bible Case

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) —

An Ohio school board lawyer says a now-fired public school science teacher waved a Bible at his students, handed out religious pamphlets and espoused creationism in his evolution lessons.

The attorney for ex-teacher John Freshwater says such accounts are exaggerated and that Freshwater was simply exercising his academic freedom to explore controversial ideas.

Attorneys for Freshwater and the Mount Vernon School Board have left the Ohio Supreme Court with competing accounts on whether the teacher unconstitutionally inserted his personal religious beliefs into the classroom.

Justices sparred with both lawyers during hour-long oral arguments Wednesday.

Freshwater was dismissed in 2011 after investigators reported he preached Christian beliefs in class when discussing topics such as evolution and homosexuality and was insubordinate in failing to remove the Bible from his classroom.

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