Don Clippinger, the assistant principal at Fienberg-Fisher K-8 Center in Miami, Florida was arrested on January 31 for allegedly downloading child pornography. Clippinger is expected to have his first court appearance today. It is unclear if he has hired an attorney.
According to the arrest report, Clippinger was taken into custody by federal agents with Homeland Security Investigations at his home on Tuesday morning for reportedly downloading child porn from the internet. The Miami Beach Police Department fully cooperated with the agents in a supportive role.
Parents of the children who go to Fienberg-Fisher K-8 Center received a phone call notification about an off-campus incident involving a school employee, but they were not given any specific details.
Sources say many of the parents were shocked and disgusted by the allegations against Clippinger. But some parents told reporters that Clippinger always seemed like a nice person. One woman, who didn’t want to be identified, called him a “very nice man . . . [he] never said anything rude or anything. He was just a nice guy who loved the kids.”
Statistics from the Crimes Against Children Research Center show that 1 in 20 boys and 1 in 5 girls is a victim of child sexual abuse. Data the center gathered over a one-year period in the U.S. showed 16% of youth between the ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized. In Florida, between 361,923 and 596,458 children are or will become victims of sexual abuse before turning 18. That’s between 9% and 15% of Florida’s current child population.
Daisy Gonzalez-Diego, the communications director of the Miami-Dade Public Schools, told news sources that Clippinger had been an employee with the school system for 23 years and had no prior complaints from parents or students.
“The accusations made against the employee are disgraceful and reprehensible, and constitute conduct unbecoming a school district employee. Miami-Dade County Public Schools has initiated procedures for the immediate termination of this individual from any and all employment with the school district,” Gonzalez-Diego said in a statement released to the press.