Story behind Dr. Greene’s departure: a teacher’s arrest, a state investigation and politics

Greene becomes most recent Florida superintendent to leave amid political pressure

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County Public Schools superintendent Dr. Diana Greene’s departure, which was approved by the school board on Tuesday, comes after more than a month of scrutiny following the arrest of a high school music teacher and the subsequent reassignment of three other teachers at the same school during the investigation.

There are allegations that the school district didn’t report complaints to Florida’s Office of Professional Practices. Some of Greene’s supporters, including school board member Warren Jones, believe there was politically motivated pressure for her to step down.

Douglas Anderson School of the Arts music teacher Jeffrey Clayton was arrested in March on charges associated with alleged inappropriate contact and communication with minors.

“We want to know who knew what when. That is the biggest question for us,” said Shyla Jenkins, a former student who is leading a group asking for answers concerning reports out of Douglas Anderson.

Another former student told News4JAX that Clayton abused her and no one did anything about it.

“If [administrators] would have stepped in some things that happened to me wouldn’t have happened,” she said.

After Clayton’s arrest, the Florida Department of Education stepped in, accusing Duval Schools of failing to report 50 cases dating back to 2020 to the state in a timely manner. An attorney for a student who’s accused Clayton of misconduct says he believes we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

Every answer we seem to get more questions crop up,” lawyer Brad Gibson said.

Letters from former students to the district detail what one called “my high school hell” claiming she and other students were “terrorized,” “manipulated” and “controlled.”

However, many came to Superintendent Greene’s defense, believing she wasn’t aware of such complaints. Some called the push to remove her politically motivated by leaders in Tallahassee, including Gov. Ron DeSantis.

We know the climate in Florida as it relates to education,” said Isaiah Rumlin, the Jacksonville branch president of the NACCP. “Banning books, the cultural wars that’s going on from Tallahassee. We see what is happening in other districts around the state.”

Across the state, several superintendents have come under fire recently and departed.

Leon County’s top educator is under DOE investigation and the state is moving to take away his teaching certificate after his comments on the Parental Rights in Education Law.

The Sarasota County School Board terminated its superintendent Brennan Asplen in November after political disagreements over his COVID policies. Asplen has since returned to his previous role as deputy administrator with the St. Johns County School District.

Brevard County’s board ousted its superintendent in November as well and Broward’s superintendent resigned in February after about a year after clashing with the school board.

That investigation at Douglas Anderson continues and police are asking anyone with information to come forward.

About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.