A science teacher accused of burning the image of a cross on students’ arms has officially been fired.

The Mount Vernon school board voted 4-1 on Monday night to accept a state hearing officer’s recommendation to terminate John Freshwater. The Columbus Dispatch reports the firing took effect a few hours later, at midnight.

Mr. Freshwater had appealed his earlier firing by the board. An internal investigation found he had preached Christian beliefs in class. He also was accused of using a scientific device to mark several students with a cross and of keeping a Bible on his desk.

The hearing officer’s report issued on Friday said Mr. Freshwater sowed doubt and confusion in the minds of impressionable students.

Mr. Freshwater has not responded to messages for comment.

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