This sounds like the plot of a Lifetime Channel movie: Teacher of the Year has sex with football player.
But it’s a real allegation in a Gwinnett County high school.
The AJC story is very interesting in that it has quotes from both parents, those of the teacher and of the student. The teacher’s father understandably defends his daughter and casts the student as a “knucklehead,” but the story notes that the teacher admitted to the relationship, calling it consensual.
I still don’t get the teacher/student thing. When you read these stories, you assume that there is something unique about both the teacher and the student, that a teacher drawn to a student must be much more immature than the average adult and the student who is the subject of the teacher’s attentions must be much more mature that her/his peers.
But when these cases explode and you see the participants in court or interviews, they are just normal people who ended up in abnormal — and illegal — situations.
With all the negative publicity about these cases and the outcome possibly a prison term, I can’t see how a teacher ends up risking it all for what seems a small return. I taught at a community college when I was 25, and I never considered any of my students, some of whom were my age or older, as friends or folks that I would invite out for coffee. The classroom created a wall between us that I never thought about crossing.
Any insights from folks in the field?
The Teacher of the Year at Shiloh High School has resigned after admitting to having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student, according to records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Keenon Aampay Hall, 29, left a promising career as an English teacher at the Gwinnett County school amid allegations that she seduced a senior who came to her for homework help. An investigative file on the case compiled by the school system’s human resources division contains the student’s accounts of sexual trysts at a hotel, a friend’s home and in the teacher’s classroom during school hours. The report also says that pornography was found on Hall’s Gwinnett County schools laptop.
The student, a player on Shiloh’s football team who is to graduate Friday, claimed that Hall gave him gifts and pressured him to commit to their six-month relationship by giving her a baby, according to the file. When he declined, the student’s family said, Hall gave him a failing grade, prompting him to report the relationship to school officials.
“The allegation of the inappropriate behavior came to light because the teacher decreased the student’s grade,” Gwinnett schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said.
Gwinnett County Public Schools police are investigating the incident. The governor recently signed a new law making it illegal for teachers to have sex with students, even if the sex is consensual. In addition, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, which has the authority to revoke Hall’s teaching certificate, is scheduled to review the complaint next week.
Hall, elected by her colleagues as Shiloh’s Teacher of the Year, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Hall’s peers had voted her Shiloh High Teacher of the Year in the fall. Her name was touted in school bulletins; she gave inspirational speeches; and was recognized at a Gwinnett County awards dinner with other top district teachers. Her parents, who attended the banquet, said they were proud but wondered why she never got her Teacher of the Year ring.
“She earned it,” her father, Dennis Hall, said. “I believe this is the action of Principal [Gwen] Tatum. It definitely opens the county up for a defamation lawsuit. … How can seven years of teaching and a reputation be destroyed because of the word of one knucklehead? I think that’s wrong.”
Hall has a bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University and has completed her master’s work, her parents said. On an application for her Gwinnett job she wrote that she was “uniquely qualified” because she has “a passion for education and working with children.”
The student, now 18, relocated to Georgia from North Carolina to live with his uncle, Jason Pender, a football coach at Shiloh High. Ericka Pender allowed her son to leave home so he could focus on academics his senior year and graduate instead of getting distracted by old friends in Winston-Salem.
Coach Pender said his nephew had been dating a teenager at school and didn’t seem any more stressed than most seniors trying to get into college. “I wondered how he got the cell phone when he was not working,” Pender said. He grew concerned when the teen’s progress report in English “went from an A to a D or F.”