Lenoir City High School teacher resigns after allegations of inappropriate relationship

LENOIR CITY, Tenn (WVLT) -- A teacher in Lenoir City has resigned amid allegations she had an inappropriate relationship with an 18-year-old male student.

Lenoir City School Superintendent Wayne Miller says the teacher, Rachael Burkhart, resigned after miller approached her about her alleged affair with an 18 year old student.

Miller clearly was not happy and it shows in a news news release, and plenty of other people are just as upset.

Lenoir City High School is the latest to see a teacher depart in a scandal. 25-year-old Rachael Burkhart resigned after being confronted with allegations she had an affair with the 18-year-old student.

Lenoir City parent Susie Heath says, "I'm outraged."

For parents like Heath, the idea of a high school teacher involved with a student is disturbing. It's forced her to talk to her own middle school daughter about it.

Heath says, "I talk to her about it now, about what's appropriate and what's inappropriate. I would hope that she'll never have to face something like that."

We took a look at Burkhart's employment file. She's worked at the high school for two years. Her record before this appears clean, with no allegations in the file. Superitendent Wayne Miller would not talk on camera. He did issue a letter with some strong words, saying:

"When an incident such as this happens, it undermines the foundation of what every teacher should stand for. It breaches the trust that teachers spend their entire career nurturing and offends everyone associated with education. It saddens me when one teacher has the ability to so negatively impact our community. I will continue to work diligently to assure this does not happen in the future and would like to assure all parents that any behavior such as this will not be tolerated within our schools."

Heather Jenkins, who has a brother at the high school now, says there's nothing new about this problem, but it's time for these incidents to stop.

Jenkins says, "A teacher ought to be the superior, they ought to know better."

Because the student is 18, Police Chief Don White says there are no criminal charges and no investigation.

We tried to contact Burkhart to give her a chance to respond, but she has not returned our call.

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First on VolunteerTV.com

A Lenoir City High School teacher has resigned amid a school district investigation into allegations she had an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Rachael Burkhart, 25, resigned last Thursday after Lenoir City Superintendent Wayne Miller informed her of his decision to fire her.

According to a news release issued when Volunteer TV News' Rob Pratt asked Miller about the incident, a member of the high school administration informed Miller on that same day of Burkhart's alleged involvement with an 18 year old student.

According to the release Miller verified the incident. He says it's an isolated incident.

"I have dealt with this particular incident and will move forward with closing a particularly successful school year," Miller said.

Miller notified police, but Lenoir City Police Chief Don White tells Volunteer TV News his office is not actively investigating because the student was 18 at the time of the alleged contact with Ms. Burkhart.

"When an incident such as this happens, it undermines the foundation of what every teacher should stand for," Miller continued. "It breaches the trust that teachers spend their entire career nurturing and offends everyone associated with education. It saddens me when one teacher has the ability to so negatively impact our community. I will continue to work diligently to assure this does not happen in the future and would like to assure all parents that any behavior such as this will not be tolerated within our schools."


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  • by Anonymous on May 13, 2008 at 04:32 AM
    I think that the whole thing is really inpropriate even though he is 18. all teachers are expected to teach the kids and what she may have been doing hardley falls into the catogory of teaching. The teacher and the 18 year old should have known better. But well done to the school for moving foward beyond this issue.
  • by Fred Location: Maryville on May 9, 2008 at 07:36 AM
    Anonymous, How could she be prosecuted if the allegations are true? he is 18, so he is an adult as well. The allegations are true or she would still be employed
  • by Tennessean Location: Lenoir City on May 9, 2008 at 12:34 AM
    I personally don't see what the big deal is, he was 18, that's legal. If it had been a 16 year old that would be differant.
  • by Home Location: Home on May 8, 2008 at 09:12 PM
    If the incident was false then how could her teaching license be revoked? Think about it!! She would have a case then. It does not take a brain surgent ti figure it out!! DUH!!
  • by Anonymous Location: niota on May 8, 2008 at 04:01 PM
    wow she is pretty! no judgement from me...we all could have stones thrown at us...if he was 20 and she was 26, what would be the big deal?? however, she was a teacher and there HAS to be a limit...he was a student, bottom line.
  • by Anonymous on May 8, 2008 at 02:59 PM
    lucky teacher:)
  • by sam Location: lenoir city on May 8, 2008 at 01:40 PM
    she looked good
  • by concern Location: knoxville on May 8, 2008 at 12:49 PM
    I would just like to say that 18 to 25 is not much difference in age; there should be a age requirement for high school teachers; in my opiniion it is just to close in age with the students..
  • by anonymous Location: knoxville on May 8, 2008 at 11:59 AM
    Has anyone considered that the "allegations" are false? What better way to get rid of a teacher you despise? I'm not saying she's innocent or guilty...I don't know. And neither does anyone else blogging here. Aren't these situations for the courts to decide? What happened to "innocent until proven guilty"? It seems now-a-days irregardless of the topic, everyone is convicted in the press and the media and the blogs before the full story comes out. Maybe it happened. Maybe it didn't. Maybe her sudden resignation was forced. Maybe it wasn't. I don't know. If it did happen - then yes, she should be prosecuted or punished. To me it's no different than a male teacher with a female student. It should NEVER happen even if the kid is 18...that's still a kid in my book. If it didn't really happen, this lady's reputation and professional career are over. If that is the case, will anyone with the media or any of those crucifying her apologize for that?
  • by you know who Location: knoxville on May 7, 2008 at 11:35 PM
    susie you did a great job. nice opinion. the other person needs to get a life. oh by the way you looked like a natural on tv the hair looks great too I love what you are doing with it now a days
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