Fiction Comes To Life? Nightingale-Banford School Inspiration For 'Gossip Girl'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two days after the start of the school year, a married teacher at an elite prep school was suspended amid claims he had an affair with a student.

It’s near the top of any ranking of New York City prep schools, with tuition to match. It costs almost $40,000 per year to attend The Nightingale-Bamford School, an all-girls school.

The scandal is casting quite a cloud over the start classes, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported.

A popular chemistry teacher, identified by a city tabloid as Jonathan Fuller, was suspended and is under investigation for allegedly having an affair with a teenager who graduated last year.

This prep school scandal has overtones of fact following fiction, because Nightingale served as inspiration for the popular books and TV series “Gossip Girl.”

The show has featured at least two story lines with students sleeping with teachers.

Lisa Birnbach knows the prep school scene after writing two books and sending her three children to private schools.

“[Gossip Girl]’s fiction and it’s tabloidy fiction,” Birnbach said.

She said affair allegations will greatly upset Nightingale parents.

“It just becomes, I guess, that much more acute when you as a parent are spending $30,000, $40,000 a year to make sure your daughter is getting a great education and to make sure she’s safe,” Birnbach said.

The teacher in question, Fuller, has received great reviews from students, with one posting online “Fuller has the power to turn chemistry into an interesting and worthwhile subject.”

The woman who answered the door at his house in Huntington had no comment. The school has hired outside counsel to investigate the allegations.

In a statement, the school said it suspended the teacher and is committed to providing a safe environment for students.

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