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BREAKING: Assistant arrested for allegedly assaulting special needs student at Dogwood ES

A Fairfax County police car with lights flashing (file photo)

An assistant at Reston’s Dogwood Elementary School has been arrested in connection with assaulting a special needs student earlier this month, according to police.

Fairfax County police charged Mark MacDicken, 60, of Centreville, with the assault of the juvenile student on Sept. 16. McDicken has worked at the school for roughly 10 years, police said.

Two teachers reportedly witnessed McDicken assaulting the student when they walked into their classroom.

He was charged with assault.

McDicken has been put on administrative leave while the case is underway, Dogwood Elementary School Principal Kate Beckner said in a message to families.

“I understand this will come as a shock to our community,” she wrote. “The primary responsibility for anyone who works in education is the safety and wellbeing of children. When that trust appears to be broken, it affects us all.”

Beckner’s full letter to the community, shared with FFXnow by Fairfax County Public Schools, is below.

Dear Dogwood Families,

I am deeply saddened this morning to share the news of a situation at Dogwood ES involving an instructional assistant.

Fairfax County Police will be sharing with the community today that an instructional assistant has been arrested and charged with assaulting a student in our school. Two staff members who allegedly witnessed the incident immediately contacted administration and we took swift action to contact the authorities. The staff member is currently on administrative leave while this case is resolved.

I understand this will come as a shock to our community. The primary responsibility for anyone who works in education is the safety and wellbeing of children. When that trust appears to be broken, it affects us all.

These situations can be upsetting and prompt a variety of emotions. When engaging in conversations with your child, listen calmly and reassuringly, and share a message that you are someone your child can talk to, even in challenging situations. If you have counseling questions or concerns, please reach out to our counselors, Angel Evins and Jen Franconeri at 703-262-3100. Please also contact Fairfax County Police Major Crimes Bureau if you have any information you would like to share at 703-246-7800, option 4.

I am here to answer your questions or concerns, and to support students in any way they need.

Sincerely,

Kate Beckner

Principal

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