Parents urged to speak to students after two alleged “inappropriate relationships” discovered

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 9:20 PM CST
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KENNETT, MO. (KAIT) - In less than a month, police arrested two Kennett High School employees on suspicion of having romantic relationships with students.

Kennett Police Chief Kenny Wilson said both alleged relationships were consensual, but that does not excuse the actions of the adults according to the Missouri statute.

The co-founder of Hope Found of Northeast Arkansas, Megan Brown, said identifying boundaries is important.

“A teacher, someone in a school setting that’s an adult, should never have any type of relationship with, romantic sexual relationship, with a child,” she said.

According to Missouri statute, it is illegal for an employee at a school to have a sexual relationship with a student.

Former Kennett High School Spanish teacher Lindsey Marshall was arrested and charged with two counts of Class E felony of sexual contact with a student.

RELATED: Teacher accused of having ‘inappropriate relationship’ with student

“She was having an inappropriate relationship with a student,” said Wilson. “Although the student was an adult by state law, it’s still against state law to have any relationship with him.”

Weeks later, officers heard rumors of an ‘inappropriate relationship’ between Kennett High School nurse Candice Johnson and a 15-year-old student.

RELATED: School nurse arrested for having sex with student

“Any kind of report like that we are going to take seriously and do a thorough investigation. If it turns out to be a rumor that’s great,” said Wilson. “We don’t feel like we are wasting our time. This is just what we do. This is our job.”

Johnson was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree statutory rape and two counts of sexual contact with a student. Kennett School District placed Johnson on “leave of absence.”

Now, parents are urged to speak with their students about avoiding sexual and inappropriate relationships with school employees.

“Encourage our parents to have an honest conversation with their students and kids. And say if anything like this, if you have ever been approached by a faculty member inappropriately, let us know about that,” said Wilson.

“What are healthy boundaries and unhealthy boundaries? What are healthy relationships and unhealthy relationships?” asked Brown.

The Kennett School District sent KAIT a statement regarding the most recent incident.

“The District was recently notified that a non-certificated employee has been arrested and charged for alleged unlawful involvement with a high school student. At this time, there has been no finding that the employee is guilty of the charges. However, the employee has been placed on a leave of absence and will have no contact with District students. As with all individuals hired by the District, the employee had a clear criminal background and child abuse check and completed all relevant training. The District places the safety and education of its students as the highest priority.”

According to online records, Johnson bonded out of the Dunklin County Jail on Feb. 2. She is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, Feb. 7.

Marshall is still behind bars. She is scheduled to go before a judge on March 2.