JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A fourth teacher has been removed Wednesday from the classroom at Douglas Anderson School for the Arts in Jacksonville.
The teacher, who is also a department chair, is the fourth teacher at the school to be removed from the classroom since the arrest of vocal coach Jeffrey Clayton last month.
The school's principal did not indicate why the teacher was removed, only that "based on information received, we have made the decision to reassign teacher (redacted) pending the outcome of a professional standards review."
First Coast News is not naming the teacher, who hasn't been charged with a crime or disciplined.
Clayton, longtime chair of the performing arts school's vocal department, was removed from the classroom in March and arrested on campus on charges of soliciting or engaging in lewd conduct with a student. He has since been charged with four counts, including lewd or lascivious touching of a minor, offenses against students and unlawful use of a two-way communication device. He pleaded not guilty.
Two other teachers were removed in quick succession after Clayton's arrest, as part of a larger investigation by the school district into the elite performing arts school.
Principal Tina Wilson sent an email two weeks ago saying investigators “have identified approximately 140 students with whom they would like to conduct a brief interview. These students have been identified based on class rosters and participation in certain programs in recent years."
Those interviews will happen on campus.
Clayton's arrest unleashed a torrent of student complaints, several who told First Coast News the school has long tolerated inappropriate conduct by teachers with students. That, in turn, has prompted intensive scrutiny of the district by the Department of Education, which Tuesday sent a harshly worded letter to Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene.
The letter from DOE Chair Manny Diaz chastised the district for repeated failures to report campus incidents and conduct violations -- including 50 previously unreported incidents sent to the state just four days ago -- calling it "completely unacceptable." He also noted that the state statue governing school reporting obligations "carries with it a one-year forfeiture of salary for superintendents that fail to comply."
In a statement late Tuesday, Greene agreed the failure to report the 50 incidents was unacceptable and said she was unaware it had happened. "I agree completely with the commissioner that delays in reporting cannot be tolerated. We will look into this matter further and take appropriate action following our review."
Diaz's letter follows one sent last week from the Office of Safe Schools Vice Chancellor Scott Strauss, which said the district had failed to report a 2021 allegation against Clayton to the state.
Greene is on the hot seat locally as well, with a special School Board meeting scheduled for Wednesday and at least one member publicly saying they must decide whether "a more thorough housecleaning may be in order."
But Greene also has supporters, who rallied on her behalf Monday night at DCPS headquarters.
Greene has promised a thorough investigation by an external law firm will examine "employee behavior and handling of allegations and reports of improper conduct over the history of the school.”
The email from Principal Tina Wilson to parents is below.
I am writing you with another update regarding a personnel matter at our school.
As you know, investigations are ongoing, and based on information received, we have made the decision to reassign teacher (redacted) pending the outcome of a professional standards review. While we follow the standard of presuming innocence until proven guilty, out of an abundance of caution, we will be moving him to duties off campus and without student contact.
As I have mentioned in previous messages of this type, if you or your student has information that might assist the district in any investigation, I encourage you to share that with Dr. Tameiko Grant. You can email Dr. Grant at grantT1@duvalschools.org.
Thanks again for your cooperation and support as we continue to work through this situation as a school community.
This is a developing story.