Please verify

Blaze Media
Watch LIVE

Florida teacher arrested for lewd conduct with student at elite performing arts school, 3 other teachers removed while officials are accused of a cover-up

Image Source: WJXT-TV YouTube video screenshot composite

Four teachers have been removed from classroom instruction at a prestigious performing arts school in Jacksonville, Florida, and one was arrested for lewd conduct with a student.

Vocal coach Jeffrey Clayton was arrested on the campus of the Douglas Anderson School for the Arts in March. He was charged with lewd or lascivious touching of a minor, offenses against students, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device, and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Since then, three other teachers were removed from classroom instruction.

The fourth teacher was a department chair but was unnamed because no charges have yet been filed.

The principal of the school informed parents that the teacher was removed because of information discovered in the course of the investigation.

"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," wrote Tina Wilson.

The accusations against Clayton led to an investigation where many students complained and resulted in a scathing letter from the Department of Education to the officials of the school.

DOE Chair Manny Diaz accused school officials of failing to report as many as 50 incidents of on campus and conduct violations. He added that a failure to report such incidents "carries with it a one-year forfeiture of salary for superintendents that fail to comply."

Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene responded in a statement Tuesday agreeing with the assessment from Diaz but claimed that she did not know about the lack of reporting about the incidents.

"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," she wrote.

A former teacher at the school told WJXT-TV that she had reported Clayton previously but officials did nothing.

“I reported him many times for toxic environment, for an unsafe environment in a classroom. Parents reported him. Not to one principal, but to two,” said Dina Barone.

A former student told WJXT about her experience with a vocal teacher at the school. Rhianna Polhammer said that the teacher told her how attractive she had become after shutting the door and closing the blinds.

“I knew then that he wouldn’t help me. I felt very alone," said Polhammer. "I stopped caring about singing that day."

Here's more about the investigation in Jacksonville:

4th Douglas Anderson School of the Arts teacher removed from classroomwww.youtube.com

Like Blaze News? Bypass the censors, sign up for our newsletters, and get stories like this direct to your inbox. Sign up here!

Most recent
All Articles