Statement from Worthington Christian School

Written on 04/26/2024
Polly Shoemaker

A Message from Head of School Dr. Mike Hayes

(Editorial Note: The following was emailed to the school community on March 27, 2024).

Yesterday, like others in Central Ohio, we learned from news media reports that Jason Dawson, a former teacher and coach at our school, was arrested in North Carolina for sexual offense charges that allege he abused two students at our school.

This is the first time we’ve heard of any allegations of criminal activity about this former employee. The behavior described in these reports is despicable, criminal, and against everything we stand for and teach. That’s why we’re committed to providing our full cooperation with law enforcement to bring this former employee to justice. Sexual assault is never acceptable, and we will not stand for it. 

Because we want to be transparent about this situation, here are the facts as we know them:

  1. Jason Dawson graduated from our school in 2006 and was hired to teach and coach in 2014. His hiring only occurred after he passed an FBI background check and an Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation background check. Our background check policy is here
  1. No one—student, parent, or anyone else—ever reported to us any alleged criminal activity about this former employee. If we had any evidence of criminal activity, we would have followed our policy, which is to immediately contact legal authorities. 
  1. In April 2022, following two incidents of employment discipline on matters not related to allegations of criminal activity but clear violations of our policies, Jason Dawson resigned to take a job in North Carolina. Until yesterday, we had not heard from him or about him. 

This is what we believe: Worthington Christian is fully resolved to use every effort to prevent the occurrence of any acts of abuse within the school and to confront any act of abuse immediately and forthrightly. 

Anyone who has abused one of our students did so in violation of our policies and in a way that kept it hidden and secret from our leaders, who are trained to detect dangerous or suspicious behavior.

Because we want to be accountable for all issues surrounding the safety of students and others in our school, we have a carefully written 16-page safety policy, which has been in place for many years and was updated last year. It can be reviewed here.

We want parents to be involved in all we do, which is why I’ll be asking a variety of concerned parents and teachers to volunteer to assist us with a thorough review of current policies and make recommendations on adding even more safeguards to protect our students.

Like so many of the teachers, staff, and volunteers at our school, I’ve devoted my entire career to helping students and that starts with giving them a safe environment where they can learn. I feel sickened, outraged, and betrayed that anyone who we employed would abuse a child. We will all do whatever we can to give love and support to any student and their family identified in these reports. More importantly, we will pray for and with them. We ask everyone to join us in those prayers.

Although school is currently on Spring Break, when students return Tuesday, we will have additional counselors and pastors available to anyone who might need them. We ask anyone with any information about these allegations—or any allegation of criminal behavior by anyone—to come forward and talk to police.