As the Miami-Dade School Board fights allegations in court that it didn’t do enough to protect students from Jason Meyers, a teacher accused of sexual misconduct, NBC 6 uncovered new details about accusations made during the teacher’s career.
As the Miami-Dade School Board fights allegations in court that it didn’t do enough to protect students from a teacher accused of sexual misconduct, the NBC 6 Investigators have uncovered new details about accusations made during the teacher’s career.
Jason Meyers taught students at Krop and Palmetto high schools in Miami-Dade County for more than a decade, but his career was put indefinitely on hold in 2016.
Meyers was arrested and charged that year after a student told police she had sex with Meyers inside a classroom at Palmetto Senior High School.
A total of eight former students have now come forward accusing the former teacher of misconduct.
The allegations range from inappropriate assignments like writing about intimacy to sexual relationships.
One victim’s father accused Meyers took advantage of his daughter when she was a 16-year-old student at Palmetto.
“I thought my daughter was safe,” he said.
The victim didn’t come clean about the alleged relationship, which involved kissing and inappropriate touching, until Meyers was arrested, her father said.
“In the meantime, she was just going down and telling me things like that she didn’t care to live and I didn’t put it together,” he said.
“I’ve not forgiven myself for not seeing that.”
Jason Meyers makes his court appearance after accusations of sexual battery against a student led to his arrest two years ago
Meyers, who is not facing criminal charges in the case of enraged father’s daughter, repeatedly denied any wrongdoing at a school district hearing following his arrest and termination saying students conspired against him because he rescinded a college recommendation letter he’d written for one of them.
“There was a clique,” he said. “I was terminated without anyone ever hearing, to this day, my side of the story.”
At the same hearing, the Miami-Dade Schools detective who investigated the case that led to his arrest admitted he didn’t check “identifying marks” in Meyer’s body, which were described by the student listed as the victim in the criminal case.
“That was drop ball on my end,” the MDSP detective candidly admitted.
“That was just something that she had mentioned to me that I felt it was pretty important.”
Meyers who has declined to speak with the media “adamantly” denies the allegations and has great concerns about the police investigation calling it “inadequate.”
Under the pseudonym Jane Doe, the victim has filed a lawsuit against the Miami-Dade School Board claiming they failed to protect her and others.
The former student who took she took Jason Meyers’ class at Palmetto Senior High School when she was 16, says that’s the topic her English teacher asked her to write about were inappropriate noting that “He would tell me about like ex-girlfriends that he had and like their physical relationships and then parallel that to with what he may do with me,” she said.
“I was paralyzed but at that age, again, what do you do?”
She started to meet her teacher secretly inside his classroom and it turned physical.
“He grabbed my face and kissed me,” she said. “I stood up and ran out of the room to my mom’s car.”
That happened twice she says it happened twice, but an inappropriate relationship developed that went on for a year.
At one point, Meyers asked her to take nude photos and show them to him.
But she did not report Meyers to school officials.
“I didn’t know just how wrong it was,” she said. “I always thought that I’ve been the only one.”
“He wasn’t stopped…and there were so many opportunities to stop him,” her father said.
Jason Meyers taught English and Creative writing to students at Krop and Palmetto high schools in Miami-Dade County for 14 years, until he was arrested and charged in 2016 with sexual battery against a female student
Police say the former student who filed the lawsuit wasn’t the only one.
NBC had reported that the school got a warning about Meyers years before his arrest: a 2008 email sent to Krop Senior High School’s administrators accusing him of “having sex with students.”
At the time, the district told the station that the case was investigated and closed “due to a lack of credible evidence” but the school officers assigned to the investigation have since said in court proceedings they don’t remember details of it or didn’t do it at all.
“I don’t recall ever being notified about this because I wasn’t in the investigative division at the time,” said a sergeant listed in the police report filed as a result of the 2008 email. “Just because it says it, doesn’t mean I actually was notified,” he added.
Another office told NBC “according to the [police] report, it was assigned to me but I wasn’t – I didn’t investigate the case.”
“They have no memory of this case and what’s crazy is that they admitted that this is something that is a big deal,” said Iva Ravindran, one of the attorneys representing claimant and her family.
More than a dozen depositions and police reports were submitted as discovery in the criminal and civil cases involving Meyers, found other alleged incidents involving the former teacher.
In one case a former student he victimized told attorneys in the civil case that he met with Krop High School’s assistant principal to complain about Meyers and report his inappropriate behavior with students during the 2009-2010 school year.
The assistant principal “didn’t seem to be interested,” the whistle blower said.
“I expressed to him that I knew multiple [former and current] students that had relationships with him,” the student said in a deposition.
“I expected him to show concern, expected him to ask more questions. I expected him to look into the matter,” he added. That didn’t happen, the former student says.
In court filings, the district denied the student’s allegations, saying, “there were never any other complaints reported at Krop involving a teacher having inappropriate relations with a student” during Meyers’ tenure at the school.
There’s also a police report by a school officer who says back in the 2004-2005 school year she saw Meyers leaning over a student in an “intimate fashion.” She didn’t make a report about what she now says she saw until his 2016 arrest more than a decade later. According to police records, that student is one of the eight who have accused Meyers of misconduct.
“What happened, it’s unfathomable,” said attorney Ronald Weil, who is also representing claimants.
“It tells me that the systems in place or the disregard of the systems in place was such that many, many girls could be affected.”
The district wouldn’t discuss the case but in an interview last November, Dr. Jimmie Brown defended their investigative process calling it “very solid.”
“When we are made aware of allegations, we take them seriously. We conduct a very fair and thorough investigation and we take the appropriate disciplinary action,” Brown said.
Meyers transferred from Krop to Palmetto in 2011. The person who hired him only heard he was a good teacher but not about any alleged incidents.
“He got braver, you know, cause they didn’t do anything,” Jane Doe’s father said.
His daughter had to be admitted to a psychiatric ward because she became suicidal.
“That’s the hardest thing I’ve done in my life,” he said.
He says the case has also taken a heavy toll on his family.
“There is no joy,” he says. “He nuked our family. He took us apart.”
Meyers is awaiting trial and has pleaded not guilty to charges of engaging in sexual activity with a child.
In January 2019, the district implemented new protocols designed to protect students, including reinforcing training for personnel and reviewing their investigative process.