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.
“I am very disturbed by this situation, I think she should have been terminated,” said Ericka Pender, the teen’s mother, from her North Carolina home. “She wanted the relationship to go further and was threatening my son. She said she was going to make him fail.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is not publishing the name of the student because it does not generally identify victims of sexual crimes.
Sid Camp, executive director of Gwinnett’s Division of Human Resources, told the state that Hall “admitted to having a sexual relationship with the student.” Hall wrote a brief statement to the school district saying that it was a “consenual relationship,” misspelling the word. She said at least one other teacher knew about the romance.
Connie Hall said her daughter is a stellar teacher admired by peers who went out of her way to help students learn. Keenon Hall went to Shiloh in 2004 as a substitute and worked her way from a teacher’s assistant to a respected certified teacher and cheerleading coach, her mother said. She said her daughter eventually became overwrought with stress caused by mouthy teens, pushy parents and administrators who failed to support hard-working teachers. She began to lose sleep and shed hair over her $35,600-a-year job, her mother said.
“She loved teaching and thought she could change the world,” said Hall, who says she tried to push her daughter to seek a higher-paying profession. “My daughter didn’t have any inappropriate relationship with no under-aged student. She resigned for medical reasons, that’s what her paperwork shows.”
The student recently told Shiloh administrators in a written statement: “One day in October I came after school for some extra studying with my teacher Kennon Hall … She began touching me on my leg and then asked me when I was going to let her molest me. … We began to laugh, then she asked me again, this time handing me a phone number and asked me to call. …”
According to the file, the student said that the teacher once paid for a cab to pick him up and take him to a hotel.
“We entered the room … then she gave me some vodka and ask me do I enjoy drinking?” he wrote. “I told her lies about being a good drinker, but honeslty after one drink I was done. She began feeling my man parts and we had sex.”
The teen also told administrators that Hall gave him cash, a cell phone and had sex with him in a classroom, an encounter the teacher denies. The student said the teacher eventually turned on him because he didn’t want to get too serious. “What made Kennon Hall mad … is the fact that I would not give her a baby.”