An attorney for the Xenia High School teacher and coach who was suspended, but returned to work after being accused of having unprofessional relationships with students, said his client’s actions have been “mischaracterized.”
Attorney Mark Landers said in a statement Wednesday that his client, William “Bill” Dawson, was trying to help the students.
“Mr. Dawson is a caring person and Mr. Dawson’s actions were nothing but an attempt to assist less than privileged kids at Xenia City Schools,” Landers said in the statement to this newspaper. “Evidently, certain people within the Xenia system mischaracterized his actions. Xenia coaches and teachers both presently and in the past routinely have students over to their house and provide student transportation with their private vehicles. Many other teachers have bought items and assisted students financially without an administrative investigation.”
Dawson returned to his English teacher position at the high school on Monday after being suspended without pay for three days as a result of investigation by Xenia Community Schools.
The district’s investigation revealed that Dawson loaned money to students, paid a student’s cell phone bill, routinely had students over to his house - allowing students to use his hot tub - and routinely provided rides for students in his own vehicle.
Last month, Ted Holop, high school principal, contacted Xenia Police about Dawson’s actions, but the police investigation revealed no criminal activity had taken place.
Dawson was removed from his assistant football coach position as a result of the investigation, but the district still has to give him full compensation for his supplemental contract.
His varsity wrestling coach stipend contract for $6,658.11, ended July 31.
Landers also said, “It has become clear that certain Xenia administrators selectively decided to enforce non-published rules such as transporting students for their own reasons.”
Mark Manley, the district’s administrative specialist, pointed out that section 3213 of the district’s bylaws and policies state, “A professional staff member shall not transport students in a private vehicle without the approval of the principal.”
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