MOUNT VERNON, Ohio, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- The school board in Mount Vernon, Ohio, must decide this month whether to fire a teacher accused of branding the shape of a cross onto a student's forearm.
John Freshwater, a 21-year veteran of the Mount Vernon City School District, was suspended without pay after an incident that occurred in his middle school science class, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday.
Freshwater said he was using an electrostatic device during an experiment last December when several students asked to touch the device, which carries high voltage but low current.
Parents of one of the students later complained the device had left a cross-like mark on their child's arm for three or four weeks.
They are suing Freshwater and the school system, the newspaper said.
Supporters of Freshwater charge the child made up the story or that the photo of the forearm with a cross on it was doctored.
They also charge that Freshwater is being persecuted for his Christian beliefs, the Tribune said.