Duval County

New documents reveal former Douglas Anderson teacher had several complaints prior to recent arrest

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax is getting a deeper look at prior complaints against a Douglas Anderson teacher who has since been arrested.

Duval County School District provided Action News Jax will Jeffrey Clayton’s personnel file. It reveals he had a series of complaints about his behavior with students dating back to 2006.

We first told you last month when Clayton was charged and accused of kissing a student.

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However, if we go further back – more than a decade – there have been at least six complaints for which he was disciplined.

“It’s mind-blowing that has been allowed to happen for decades,” a former vocal student of Clayton’s, Shyla Jenkins, said.

Jenkins was in Douglas Anderson’s graduating class of 2002, and she had Clayton as a vocal teacher for two years. While there were no reports from that year, she said there were issues.

“While the behaviors were there, the grooming techniques hadn’t really come into play, but there were things that he would say to female students to make them feel uncomfortable,” Jenkins said.

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In 2006, a letter addressed to Clayton reveals that he received a written reprimand after receiving an earlier verbal reprimand, for a continued violation. That was for conducting private tutoring lessons.

After a 2008 report for inappropriate student interaction, he was told to avoid the student, and Clayton agreed to that, according to his file. Yet in another 2008 complaint, Clayton invited a student to lunch and to work out at the same gym as him. This resulted in a formal written warning for his lack of exercising “best professional judgement.”

Fast forward five years to another incident report, but this one was unsubstantiated. Several years later, the complaints advanced from inappropriate conversations to inappropriate touching. In at least two complaints from 2016 and 2021, Clayton is accused of rubbing student’s arms and backs and calling them beautiful. He received verbal reprimands for the 2016 incident, but a 2021 allegation kick-started a full-on investigation of Clayton by the DCPS Office of Equity and Inclusion/Professional Standards.

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In the 2021 complaint, a student statement said, “Mr. Clayton has difficulty making eye contact when they talk because he is preoccupied with looking at her chest the whole time.”

We told you yesterday that the state sent a letter to DCPS questioning how the school district reported one of those prior incidents to a state database.

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In response to this, the School Board chairwoman Dr. Kelly Coker sent this statement: “As chair of this school board, I’m appalled to know that district leadership was aware of this teacher’s behavior as recently as 2021. While we have begun the process of hiring external legal counsel to investigate the Clayton incident, I am convening a meeting of the school board for next week. We are the officials entrusted by parents, voters and taxpayers to take care of children, and I have every confidence that this board will take the actions it needs to take to accomplish that goal.”

The district has four days left to respond to the state but did say it reported the incidents to two other state entities.