Parents: Why The Delay In Investigating Teacher?

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The Mount Vernon school superintendent said Wednesday that the school district knew about accusations about a teacher months ago.

John Freshwater, an eighth-grade science teacher, is being investigated for allegedly using a device to burn crosses on students' arms.  Following the December allegation, Freshwater also was accused of performing a healing session at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting.

Last week, Freshwater made headlines because he refused to remove a Bible from his desk after a parent complained about religious articles in his classroom, 10TV's Tanisha Mallett reported.

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Some in Mount Vernon wonder why the allegations are coming out now, but Stephen Short, the district's superintendent told Mallett that a meeting took place with Freshwater months ago.

"The principal met with the teacher, discussed those two complaints and gave that teacher corrective measures to do," Short said.

According to Short, nothing was placed in Freshwater's personnel file but the issues were being dealt with.

"I think the whole thing was an ongoing situation that the principal was working through with the teacher," Short said.

After the district received the complaint this month to investigate religious items in Freshwater's classroom, Short said the district moved to get an independent investigator to look into all complaints.

Karen Tanner, who has a son in Freshwater's school, said that the district moved a little too late.

"If it was a problem then, deal with it then and it might not have even gone this far," Tanner said.

Short said that the district decided on hiring an independent investigator because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Stay with 10TV News and for continuing coverage.

Previous Stories:

April 22, 2008:  Teacher Accused Of Burning Crosses Onto Students' Arms
April 17, 2008:  Student Backs Teacher In Fight To Keep Bible On Desk
April 16, 2008:  Teacher Refuses To Move Bible From Desk