What to do when a teacher starts dating an 18-year-old student

Teachers in the classroom are obviously in the power seat. They are in charge of the classroom, the students, the curriculum, the grades, and the behaviors that they engage in. So what then happens when a teacher and his former student both drop out of school and move in together? 41-year-old James Hooker and his student Jordan Powers did just this. He left his job, his wife, and his family (including his 17-year-old daughter who attended class with Jordan) for this teenage romance. Many disprove of the relationship – including Jordan’s mom who claims that James pursued and seduced Jordan before she was of age. She wants Hooker arrested, and so do many angry onlookers.

Would it surprise you more if I told you that James Hooker was in the process of being nominated for teacher of the year in 2013? Probably not. Because this kind of story is not uncommon in the profession of teaching today. In fact, it is illegal in only 23 states for a teacher to have relations with his/her student. Which is really a bummer. That’s not even half of the country. Almost all of us, I assume, have heard some sort of gossip or watched some sort of video report of a teacher having relations or a relationship with one of their students. I’ve even seen evidence of this in my own high school. But this particular story has grabbed the attention of the government now.

Lawmakers in California have been trying since spring 2012 to pass a bill stating that teachers who have inappropriate and unethical relationships with their students will be stripped (oh, how punny) of their pensions and retiree health care. The government would monitor carefully teacher/student interactions and communication – watching carefully for sexually explicit text messages (what method they plan to do that by I dare not ask) and punish all sexual activity criminally. The goal is to have teachers think twice before jumping into an underage scandal with a student and to have serious repercussions come down on them if they engage in such acts.

As preservice teachers I think we all have pretty strongly formed opinions on the issue. So I want to know what you all think. Do you think it’s right for the government to get involved in such an issue? Should they have been involved already? Do you think the lawmakers are going about it the right way? What else could be done to stop the influx of teacher/student relations?

For more info, check out the Fox News article



About Emma Steward

Coloradoan, yogi, future educator, vegetarian, nature lover, fine wine connoisseur of fine wines (Five truths and lie, or is it two...)

2 thoughts on “What to do when a teacher starts dating an 18-year-old student

  1. Hey Emma,
    This is a very tricky subject and while I think that any sort of relationship with a student is completely unacceptable, the fact is that the girl is 18. If they can find evidence of a sexual relationship before 18 (which there probably was) then he should probably be jailed.
    However I’m not sure I agree with the way that California is getting involved in this. If the student is 18 or over then I don’t see any legal issue with it (moral issues on the other hand…). I mean the teacher’s career is probably shot anyways because no school is going to hire him.
    Just my opinion. Great post!
    -Anna B.

  2. margotgirerd says:

    I think what is the most scariest about this situation is that it happens so much more often than we think! I haven’t been in that much contact with one of my close friends in France, and when I asked about her to my other friends, they said that she had eloped with her History teacher and that they were living in some other town. She is 20 and he is 45. He had a family, a wife and two kids… and now my friend is expecting her first baby with “the love of her life”. They made their relationship public on facebook and it still makes me want to puke. On the other hand though… If Ezra from Pretty Little Liars wanted to date me, I don’t think I would be able to say no… Tricky, very tricky!

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