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DCPS responds to state concerns for student safety
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DCPS responds to state concerns for student safety

  • PublishedMay 28, 2024



Earlier this month, Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz sent a letter to the district, sharing concerns over its reporting of employee misconduct allegations.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Duval County Public Schools is responding to concerns from the state department of education regarding student safety and district reporting of allegations of employee misconduct.

Earlier this month, Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz sent a letter to Interim Superintendent Dr. Dana Kriznar, sharing concerns “about the lack of progress and action regarding the numerous issues affecting the health, safety, and welfare of students in Duval County Public Schools.”

First Coast News obtained Kriznar’s response Tuesday, listing six actions the district has taken to address “necessary change” and promising “additional strategies to improve protections for student safety.”

Those actions include launching an online employee misconduct reporting form on the district’s student safety web page; providing each secondary school with posters and flyers with a QR code to the site to report misconduct; proposing a new policy to the school board mandating rapid removal of employees arrested for felony or misdemeanor charges or those accused of any type of sexual misconduct, child abuse or harm, or distribution of illegal drugs; submitting employee misconduct reports to the state DOE electronically rather than via mail; implementing an employee discipline data tracking feature for school and district leaders to review prior to transferring or hiring employees; and developing age-appropriate videos on identifying and reporting incidents of harassment to be deployed to students at the beginning of the 2024-25 school year.

The letter goes on to say Kriznar’s next step will be to engage the families and other community members with an interest in Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, where two teachers were arrested within a one-year span, both on sexually related charges.

Christopher Allen-Black was allowed to remain teaching for more than a month after he was arrested on charges of exposing himself at a Disney World hotel in February. He pleaded not guilty.

In his letter to Kriznar, Diaz said the handling of Allen-Black was “unacceptable.”

Last year, former vocal department chair Jeffrey Clayton was arrested on charges of sexual misconduct with a student. He pleaded guilty in April and is set to be sentenced June 14. He could face up to 40 years in prison.

Following Clayton’s arrest, Diaz said the district failed to file timely reports on dozens of cases of alleged employee misconduct. The office of inspector general investigated DCPS and found it was not promptly reporting cases.

Kriznar responded to Diaz in a letter dated May 10. See the full letter below.


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