The Metro Nashville Board of Education agreed to pay $25,000 last week to settle a lawsuit that alleged Metro schools officials failed to warn Rutherford County schools officials that a former Nashville teacher had been accused of having a sexual relationship with a student.
Kenneth Anderson Jr. was eventually hired by Rutherford County’s Smyrna High School, where he engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old student. Anderson is now serving time in prison for sexually predatory acts.
In addition to the $25,000 from Metro, the plaintiffs in the suit — an anonymous Smyrna student and her mother — have been awarded $25,000 by Rutherford County schools. A judge has ordered Anderson to deliver the plaintiffs $1.5 million.
Anderson taught in Metro from 2001 through 2003, serving different stints at Hillsboro High School and Nashville School for the Arts. While teaching at the latter, Anderson was accused of having a sexual relationship with a Hillsboro student.
In March 2003, Anderson was placed on administrative leave while a police investigation took place. Metro police concluded no sexual relationship happened. The report pointed out the student claimed Anderson was her only sexual partner and had fathered her child, even though DNA evidence proved otherwise. No criminal charges were brought.
Anderson later taught at Franklin High School in Williamson County from 2003 through 2005.
Prior to Anderson’s arrival at Smyrna, according to court documents, the principal there spoke to Nashville School for the Arts' then-Principal Bob Wilson, who recommended Rutherford County not hire for Anderson because of his poor job performance.
Rutherford County officials also spoke to Gene Foster of Metro schools' Human Resources Department, who did not alert them to the previous allegations directed toward Anderson, according to court documents. Foster, who recommended Anderson not be hired for unsatisfactory performance, was unaware of the past accusations, the documents reveal.
While teaching biology at Smyrna, Anderson committed sexual predatory abuse on one of his female students from October 2005 through January 2006.
The suit brought against Metro, Rutherford County Schools and Anderson also claimed Metro failed to fully investigate all of the accusations against Anderson, and failed to report the former teacher to the state Department of Children's Services.