JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A teacher at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts has been arrested and is accused of “lewd and lascivious conduct involving a student,” according to a message from the principal sent to families.
The teacher, Jeffrey Clayton, 65, is listed on DA’s website as the “Vocal Department Chair” for the Duval County Public Schools performing arts high school.
DCPS said the school police force became aware of this situation over the weekend. They conducted a thorough investigation earlier this week, resulting in Clayton’s arrest on Wednesday morning.
Action News Jax has obtained Clayton’s arrest report, which lists the location of his arrest as 2445 San Diego Road, the address of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.
His charges are listed as authority figure solicits or engages in lewd conduct with a student and unlawful use of two-way communication device. The details of the report are heavily redacted, but “victim relationship to offender” is listed as “student.”
“While the presumption of innocence still applies, if he is released from police custody, he will not return to the school and will have no interaction with students,” the message from Principal Tina Wilson said.
Action News Jax spoke with Zoria Daley, who is a former student of his.
“He was very his way or no way when it came to our rehearsals,” she said.
Daley said she spent four years at the school and a lot of time in choir with Clayton.
“I had been doing music since I was 10 years old and when I got to Douglas Anderson, I really lost a lot of that passion because it didn’t seem like it was about the music it seemed about him being in control,” she said.
Action News Jax went to his last known address looking for a comment. A woman briefly answered the door and then closed it seconds later.
Daley said Clayton could often have what she described as an aggressive tone and choice of words.
“If we would get something wrong, we would run through it so many, so many times but he didn’t have no problem calling people out for that. I understand we’re in a choir and if there’s one person that messes everybody up, you do have to address that but the way you’re addressing it, you’re yelling, people can see spit flying out of your mouth as you’re talking to people, like that’s not OK.”
DCPS said Clayton began as a music teacher at Douglas Anderson on Aug. 9, 2000.
His record includes a short disciplinary reassignment from Jan. 17-23, 2013 and he was reinstated at Douglas Anderson on Jan. 24, 2013. Except for the 2013 reassignment, he has taught continuously at Douglas Anderson until Wednesday.
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Here is the full message from Wilson to DA families:
“Hello Douglas Anderson families, this is Principal Wilson calling. It is tremendously disappointing to have to call you with this information this morning, but there has been a situation at the school that I need to make you aware of. Earlier this morning, police arrested one of our teachers, Mr. Jeffrey Clayton, on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct involving a student. While the presumption of innocence still applies, if he is released from police custody, he will not return to the school and will have no interaction with students. Our district’s internal professional standards team will also conduct an investigation and act on this matter. I hope you know that we have very high standards for the conduct of our teachers and employees. Behavior of the type alleged in this case is not tolerated, and appropriate action will be taken based on the evidence and conclusions that emerge. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me through the school. Thanks, and good-bye.”
DCPS said it is conducting a “comprehensive investigation of the matter in addition to our normal investigation regarding the arrested employee.”
DCPS is asking students, alumni, or others who might have information useful to the investigation are encouraged to email Dr. Tameiko Grant, head of the district’s professional standards office, at GrantT1@duvalschools.org.