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COLUMBUS, Ohio – An Ohio teacher accused of burning the mark of a cross on students’ arms says he dropped a lawsuit over his possible firing because it would have interfered with a public airing of his complaint in a different venue.

The school board in Mount Vernon, Ohio, moved to fire middle school science teacher John Freshwater in 2008 after an internal investigation concluded that he had preached Christian beliefs in class.

He sued current and former Mount Vernon school board members, but his attorneys filed notice of the lawsuit’s dismissal on Thursday.

Freshwater says in a statement that he had been offered settlements, but he says a settlement would have ended a state hearing on his dismissal before the referee could issue a decision.

As Freshwater puts it: “The opportunity for truth would never have come out.”


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Freshwater taught a form of science called “creationism” that discounts evolution and teaches science from a Biblical perspective.