Teacher ac­cused of as­sault­ing of­fi­cer placed on paid leave

The Columbus Dispatch - - Metro&state - By Dean Nar­ciso dnar­ciso@dis­patch.com @DeanNar­ciso

An in­ter­ven­tion spe­cial­ist in the Reynolds­burg City School District has been placed on paid leave after be­ing charged with as­sault and ag­gra­vated rob­bery after an in­ci­dent with a Colum­bus po­lice of­fi­cer this month.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice and court records, Justin McDow­ell, 26, was in­volved in a sin­gle-car crash just after 10 p.m. Nov. 21 at Hamil­ton Road and Route 161 on the East Side. He ran from the scene and, on be­ing con­fronted, punched the of­fi­cer, put him in a head­lock and, dur­ing the strug­gle, tried to take the of­fi­cer's gun, ac­cord­ing to court, po­lice and school doc­u­ments. McDow­ell, of Ga­hanna, was ar­rested Nov. 22 and charged with felony as­sault and ag­gra­vated rob­bery. He has posted a $250,000 bond. He is sched­uled for a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing at 9 a.m. Dec. 6 in Franklin County Mu­nic­i­pal Court.

In an email to par­ents sent Wed­nes­day, the school said McDow­ell, who teaches at Wag­goner Road Ju­nior High School, is on paid leave.

Ac­cord­ing to his per­son­nel file, he was hired in June 2016 and has had no pre­vi­ous dis­ci­plinary in­ci­dents while work­ing for the school district. Be­fore be­ing hired, he worked for two years at Colum­bus Per­for­mance Acad­emy Kinder­garten.

A sub­sti­tute teacher has been as­signed McDow­ell's du­ties, which in­clude work­ing with spe­cial-needs stu­dents, Su­per­in­ten­dent Melvin Brown said.

McDow­ell

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