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      State rebukes Ohio teacher fired in religion case

      An Ohio science teacher fired after he was accused of preaching religious beliefs to students has been rebuked by the Ohio Department of Education over the use of equipment in his class.

      The Columbus Dispatch reports the department writes that John Freshwater showed "poor judgment" by letting his students at Mount Vernon Middle School touch an electrical laboratory

      instrument.

      In the case that led to his firing, Freshwater was accused of using the device to burn the image of a cross on students' arms.

      His attorney has filed a written response to the state's rebuke, saying the education department reached a "false, erroneous, defamatory and unwarranted" conclusion.

      Freshwater was dismissed in January by the school board in Mount Vernon, in central Ohio. He's now pursuing a legal appeal.

      (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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