Teacher accused of assaulting officer placed on paid leave
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.