I-TEAM: Family of student accusing music teacher of lewd conduct hires law firm for independent investigation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The family of a student who police said was abused by a longtime Douglas Anderson School of the Arts music teacher has hired a law firm to launch an independent investigation

Jeffrey Clayton, 65, is charged with soliciting or engaging in lewd conduct with a student and unlawful use of a two-way communication device, according to his arrest report.

Clayton is accused of kissing a student during a music lesson. Two other teachers at the arts school have also been removed from the classroom as investigations are underway.

Douglas Anderson alumni and staff have come forward with allegations of toxic culture that protected a predator.

Multiple people have told the News4JAX I-TEAM and the Duval County School Board that complaints about Clayton were ignored for years.

Brad Gibson, lead attorney for the student’s family, said it’s been tough for the family to hear about all the other stories about Clayton, and they want to get to the bottom of what happened.

“Every answer we seem to get, more questions crop up,” Gibson said. “We’re really interested in trying to figure out how long the school knew about these allegations, and how far back it goes because we believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Gibson also said the student’s family is in the process of healing.

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“I don’t know that you ever get over it,” Gibson said. “I think it will always be there.”

At a school board meeting earlier this week, speakers called for an independent investigation into the teacher.

“I do not believe that our police department or that the people in your, within your departments, are going to do a fair analysis because it’s been 20 years,” former Douglas Anderson teacher Dina Barone said.

Gibson said his firm can deliver that fair analysis that Barone mentioned and is asking more witnesses and other potential victims to come forward.

He said, at the moment, he’s not sure if they will be filing a lawsuit.

A spokesperson for the school district said they will have more to say next week on their plan for the school and their next steps.

If you would like to submit a tip regarding this investigation, email DA@learnyourrights.com.

About the Author:

I-TEAM and general assignment reporter