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The Price of Student Teacher Relations

By ASHLEY PRICE
Updated: 03/06/12 12:39pm

In My Opinion

Staff Columnist Ashley Price gives her take on issues around the world and on Shippensburg University’s campus

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Teachers mentor children and teenagers while helping them to learn about the world.
Because of this, teaching is an honorable career.

A successful teacher must be approachable as well as responsible.

They must understand their students while remaining an authority.

Unfortunately, in today’s society, some teachers use their positions of authority irresponsibly.
The most recent example of this is James Hooker.

Until the beginning of 2012, Hooker was an average, middle-aged teacher.
At 41- years- old, he was married with children and had been teaching computer and business classes at Enochs High School for 15 years.

In January, Hooker left his family to move in with a student.

Jordan Powers, 18, was a student in Hooker’s classes since her freshman year of high school.
They moved in together shortly after she turned 18 and within a few weeks, a full police investigation led to him being banned from contacting students and staff at the school.

He, with Powers at his side, claims that their relationship was nothing more than an innocent student-teacher relationship until Powers turned 18-years-old.

In each interview, Powers looks up at Hooker and smiled before tilting her head and claiming, “He’s my best friend. He’s more than a lover.”

Hearing those words come from a high school senior is laughable to many.
She has yet to step foot into the world after high school.

She lived with her mother up until the day she left home to live with Hooker; another authority in her life.

While sitting together they appear to be a father and daughter.

She does not look nearly 18 years old, while he looks every bit his age.
The sight of them even holding hands is disturbing.

Even more disturbing are the facts being exposed by Power’s mother, Tammie.

When she learned of her daughter’s relationship with Hooker in early January, she began looking through text messages on cell phone bills.
She found more than 8,000 text messages between the two from last summer and up to 32 texts a day during the fall.

Late night phone calls and lengthy emails were also uncovered in her search.

Tammie’s findings spurred the police investigation currently in progress, but she refuses to stop there.

She has even dedicated her Facebook page to spread the word about Hooker’s inappropriate behaviors, complete with photographs and captions that state his name as well as a description of, “a perverted man in his 40s who has taken advantage of a little girl.”

She has also contacted Nancy Grace with the hopes that Hooker’s unacceptable actions would be publicly persecuted.

This man’s actions are simply disturbing and immoral.
Even if his claims that no physical relationship occurred before Powers was 18 are true, he was nonetheless pursuing a minor though phone calls, texts and emails, possibly from the time she was 14- years- old.

How many others like James Hooker are teaching in our schools? How many other men and women in authoritative positions are preying on young, impressionable teenagers?

This is not to say that this one man’s faults should spur accusations of innocent teachers, however, his story should be a wake- up call to parents and teachers alike.

Published March 5, 2012 in In My Opinion
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