A 25-year-old Texas high school teacher and coach could face up to 20 years in prison after reportedly confessing to police that she had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female student.
Kendall Lucas, the head softball coach, assistant volleyball coach and business education teacher at Taylor High School in Taylor, Texas, is under investigation after school officials learned of the alleged relationship from two other students and promptly reported it to police on March 29, reports KXAN. Those two students, who are on the softball team, said that they learned about the illicit relationship from the victim, who was 17 at the time.
Lucas turned herself into the local police station on March 31 and reportedly confessed to having sexual relations with the student approximately 10 times between March and May 2016. Lucas has been charged with improper relations between an educator and student, a second-degree felony that could land her in prison for between two and 20 years if convicted and also carries a maximum fine of $10,000, according to the New York Daily News.
Taylor High has suspended the coach and put her on administrative leave while the investigation continues.
"Like you, we are all obviously shocked and dismayed by this allegation and will be working to support all of our students in coping with this disturbing news," Principal Andrew Maddox said in a letter to the school families, according to KXAN.
Between 2010 and 2017, nearly 700 Texas teachers had their licenses revoked due to investigations of inappropriate relationships with students, reports the Austin American-Statesman. However, 53 percent of those teachers were never charged for their alleged misconduct.
"This kind of conduct is outrageous and will not be tolerated," said Superintendent Susan Hull of the Grand Prairie, Texas, Independent School District, where 28-year-old middle school special education teacher Rebecca Goerdel was arrested on March 24 after allegations that she had sex with two male students, according to the Toronto Sun. "The teacher-student relationship is sacred. It reflects a vow from teachers to parents that their children are safe -- as safe as they would be at home. When a teacher in Grand Prairie ISD breaks that vow, he or she will be dealt with quickly and aggressively. I encourage law enforcement to pursue all available action."
On March 20, 27-year-old high school teacher Sarah Fowlkes of Lockhart, Texas, was arrested and fired for reportedly fondling one of her biology students. In February, 29-year-old former math teacher Haeli Wey pleaded guilty to having sexual relationships with two then-17-year-old students.