Former teacher was disciplined in 2004 for sexual harassment

A former Reynolds High School teacher who was disciplined for sexual harassment and sexual conduct with a student in 2004 is now being promoted to assistant principal at Reynolds.

John Dixon will assume the post July 1, after working at Reynolds as an activity director and previously teaching at Alder Elementary.

In 2004, Dixon was placed on paid leave, then unpaid leave, when a coworker filed a complaint that amounted to two counts of 'gross neglect of duty,' the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission concluded in 2004. The commission placed Dixon's teaching license on probation for two years.

'He's satisfactorily fulfilled that probation,' said Reynolds Superintendent Joyce Henstrand a week after the district named Dixon to his new post, among other appointments.

'In all of that time (since his probation) his work has been exemplary. He's strongly endorsed by the principal at Alder Elementary and the current principal (at Reynolds); there's not a blemish on his record since the incident.'

All things considered, Henstrand said, 'I believe in the last several years he's demonstrated the character, skills and leadership for this job.'

As is policy for all new staff positions in the district, Dixon's first three years will be probationary.

The district makes no mention of Dixon's background in its 'welcome new administrators' announcement, describing him as such:

'John Dixon is a Reynolds High alum and started his Reynolds teaching career in 1996. He holds degrees from Western Oregon University and Portland State University. Mr. Dixon has taught physical education, focus, personal fitness, leadership and student government. He also served on site councils at Alder Elementary and Reynolds High, worked to implement the physical education program grant district-wide.'

According to the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission's finding, Dixon violated the legal code for sexual conduct with a student 'by failing to maintain a professional student-teacher relationship by pulling a female student's gym shorts high and exposing the student's butt cheeks to members of the boys basketball team and by making comments in front of other student's (sic) regarding the color of the students 'thong underwear.' '

The second count, sexual harassment, happened by 'engaging in physical conduct of a sexual nature when he lifted a coworker off the gym floor in a hug and pressed her against the wall, holding her against that position.'

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