A South Carolina private school counselor is in hot water after confessing to having a sexual relationship with one of her students. According to WSPA, Kenleigh Prendergast was arrested on Friday, March 29, after it was confirmed that she’d had an inappropriate relationship with a student at Spartanburg Day School, – which reportedly charges approximately $19,000 annually for students aged PreK to 12th grade – where she was employed as a school counselor in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
On March 25, the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office revealed an incident report was filed against Prendergast detailing her alleged sexual involvement with an underage student. Due to the age of the student, who is presumably 16 or 17 years of age, their identity has been concealed. It has been reported that the relationship, in question, took place between January and March of this year. There is no indication of whether or not the relationship took place for longer than that but regardless of the timeline, Prendergast is suffering the consequences now. Investigators ultimately determined that the relationship may have begun sometime at the beginning of the year and ended abruptly days prior to the incident report that was filed against Prendergast.
During an interview with investigators, Prendergast admitted to the claims against her. She detailed times where she reportedly “text, call, or FaceTime with the student during the school day and after school hours.” However, things didn’t stop there. As the alleged relationship progressed, Prendergast and the student reportedly began meeting at her “private counseling practice and at her home.” She also admitted to engaging in sexual intercourse with the student. Unfortunately for Prendergast, her professional time at the prestigious private school was short-lived.
According to Fox News, she’d just started working at the school in August of 2017. Based on her online profile, it seemed she would be a relatively suitable fit for the school. Daily Mail reports that Prendergast described herself as a “licensed family therapy intern’ with ‘several years of experience working in school environments.” The description continued with a detailed explanation about her passion for education. Prendergast explained how she loved ‘working with teens struggling with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem/confidence and difficult life transitions.” She added, “I also enjoy working with young adults (college-aged/early 20’s) and adults with these issues, & more!”
Needless to say, Prendergast has been dragged and criticized all over social media and many readers found the increasing number of teacher/student sexual relationships highly alarming. “Every week another female predator teacher in her 20’s is caught. School policy needs to change. Should be cameras in the classroom and teachers should be prohibited from contacting students through social media or phone. Teachers need to be micromanaged even though in a work setting it’s not productive. I’m starting to believe the predators pick teaching professions to have access to these children. There should be no privacy in a classroom all conduct needs be transparent,” one reader wrote.
In addition to readers, Spartanburg Day School also finds Prendergast’s actions disturbing.
Spartanburg Day School Responds:
Following Prendergast’s arrest, the Spartanburg Day School released a statement addressing the situation. The counselor’s charges were detailed and it was also confirmed that she had been terminated from the school. Kenleigh Prendergast was arrested and charged with “sexual battery with a student with no aggravated force or coercion.” The statement reads, “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 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.”
After being arrested, Prendergast was taken to Spartanburg County Detention Center. The investigation into the situation will be ongoing as members of the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office continue to review the case.