School counselor admits to having a sexual relationship with a student
I don't really know what is in the air right now, but for some reason, there seems to be an alarming amount of teachers engaging in sexual activity with their students. Whether it's the teacher who not only entered a sexual relationship with her student, but also bought them drugs, or the teacher who adopted a student only to engage in a sexual relationship and have his baby - it is certainly becoming a worrying trend that is bizarrely on the rise.
Now, we have a school counselor who has admitted to having a sexual relationship with one of her students.
Kenleigh Prendergast, 25, who was a counselor at Spartanburg Day School in South Carolina, had only been at the school for five months when she is reported to have engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a pupil "aged 16 or 17" in January of this year.
According to the Prendergast, she put an end to the relationship several days before she was reported to the police, on March 25.
She was interviewed on March 30 and confessed to communicating with the student via text message, phone calls and FaceTime during and after school hours. Prendergast's courting of the student, led to them meeting up out her house, which, according to the counselor, doubled up as a private counselling practice.
She was taken to the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office Detention Facility and was charged with sexual battery with a student aged 16 or 17 with no aggravated force or coercion.
According to the school which she worked at, they fired Prendergast as soon as they were informed of the allegations by the police.
In a statement, Spartanburg Day School, which charges $19,000 a year in fees, said: "Spartanburg Day School was contacted on March 31 by the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office and informed that an employee, Kenleigh Prendergast, was charged with sexual battery with a student.
"Ms. Prendergast was hired in August of 2017 as a school counselor.
"Effective immediately, Ms Prendergast's employment with the school has been terminated.
"SDS puts the safety and well-being of our students above all things, and will cooperate fully with the Sheriff's Office throughout this process."
On her professional profile online, Prendergast describes herself as a "licensed family therapy intern" with "several years of experience working in school environments."
Prendergast lists her main passion as "working with teens struggling with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem/confidence and difficult life transitions".
"I also enjoy working with young adults (college-aged/early 20's) and adults with these issues, & more!" she adds.
While it's easy to say "I wish I had someone like this at my school!" when you see a story like this, the truth is, counselors like Prendergast have a line of duty that they need to perform and by engaging in activities of this nature, they are breaking that duty. She was there to protect her students and talk them through their issues, rather than enter a sexual relationship with them.
Let's just hope that, given the amount of attention these stories are getting, school workers will begin to think about the consequences of their actions a little bit more.