The chairman of the vocal music department at Jacksonville’s high school of the arts was arrested early Wednesday on a charge of lewd conduct involving a student, according to Duval County Schools.
Jeffrey Payne Clayton, 65, was booked into the Duval County jail at 12:30 p.m., jail records show.
Clayton was officially charged with soliciting lewd conduct with a student and unlawful use of a two-way communication device, according to Duval County jail records.
Tina Wilson, principal of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, informed parents about the arrest in a message that called the news “tremendously disappointing.”
“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,” Wilson wrote. “Our district’s internal professional standards team will also conduct an investigation and act on this matter. … 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.”
Jeffrey Clayton. | Douglas Anderson School of the Arts website
Duval County School Police released Clayton’s arrest report Wednesday afternoon, but it contained no information other than saying he was arrested at 9 a.m. at the school on San Diego Road. Police found about the situation over the weekend, the district said.
Clayton is listed on the high school website as the vocal music department chair. School district records state that Clayton began as a music teacher at Douglas Anderson on Aug. 9, 2000. He has taught there continuously since, other than a short disciplinary reassignment from Jan. 17 to 23, 2013.
District officials said they have no further details about that discipline for now. Clayton’s file contains documents that cannot be shared until the district reviews them, they said.
The Florida American Choral Directors Association states that Clayton was awarded the Gladys Prior Award for Career Excellence in Teaching in 2008. The website also states that his choirs, ensembles and soloists have earned countless superior ratings at district and state festivals as well as performing for live television specials. School choirs led by Clayton have appeared with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra several times.
In 2012, the Grammy Foundation recognized Clayton’s school as the No. 1 high school music program in the country.