First, yes, I’ve heard about the middle-school science teacher here in Ohio who is getting fired for branding crosses into the flesh of his students with a high frequency generator, and who was also slipping religion into his science teaching. Oops.
What stands in my mind, however, is this bit from the article, in which the teacher explained “he simply was trying to demonstrate the device on several students and described the images as an ‘X,’ not a cross.” Because, you see, zapping an “X” into the flesh of your pubescent students with a tool that outputs 50,000 volts a pop is not a problem.
The particular tool comes with the following warning: “Never touch or come in contact with the high voltage output of this device.” Any teacher willfully ignoring the safety instructions on high voltage equipment to use it to intentionally inflict pain and injury on his students, and to brand a large, recognizable pattern on their skin, is one that’s going to land on my “fire this idiot” list. You don’t even have to get into the religious angle, as far as I’m concerned. That’s just the bonus round, as far as the firing goes.
Another choice quote from the article, from a friend of the teacher: “With the exception of the cross-burning episode. … I believe John Freshwater is teaching the values of the parents in the,” said the friend. Yes, well. That’s a heck of an exception, now, isn’t it.