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Thursday, March 15, 2012

James Hooker, Modesto Teacher Who Ditched Wife and Kids for Student, Should Lose His Pension, Lawmaker Says

Posted By on Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge A playground? Really?
  • A playground? Really?
A playground? Really?
A few weeks ago we told readers the Jerry Springer-like story about James Hooker, the 41-year-old Modesto high school teacher who dumped his wife and kids to move in with one of his students. Of course, the not-so-young love has drawn ire from readers, and now lawmakers, too.

Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) was appalled to learn that Hooker was dating his former student, 18-year-old Jordan Powers, who is a senior at Enochs High School -- so much so that she's hoping to legislate the two out of love. Olsen has introduced a bill that would essentially put an end to these bizarre student-teacher relationships. 

"My bill would say it doesn't matter how old you are, if you are a student at a high school and a teacher initiates a relationship with you, that's highly inappropriate, highly unethical, should be a felony conviction, and you should lose your public pension for that type of behavior," Olsen tells KGO.

click to enlarge ... and boyfriend
  • ... and boyfriend
... and boyfriend
The bill, AB 1861, will be introduced next week, and would require each school to have its own review board in conjunction with a police investigation when it becomes known that a teacher is teaching his or her student a little more than what's on the curriculum. The California Teachers Association has refused to comment on the bill until it's introduced.

On March 1, the news broke that Hooker (that name!) quit his job and announced he would be moving in with Powers, who also has big plans to drop out of school. The high school sweethearts swear they never touched one another until Powers turned 18, and that's when Hooker decided to pursue his now-legal love, and leave his wife and kids.

Naturally, Powers' mother isn't happy about this relationship, and has told police she believes Hooker was preying on her daughter when she was still a minor -- and she has a string of text messages to prove it.

Despite the public disapproval of this relationship, Hooker, who is now being investigated by Modesto police, has told news reporters that there's nothing wrong with what he's done, and he's not worried about what police might find. 

Clearly, he's blinded by love.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Bio:
Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.

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