Sunday, March 4, 2012

Teacher Sends 8000 Texts to Student Lover

Call me a prude but I don't like 1 to 1 electronic communication between students and teachers.  I suppose that there could be some value but I think the dangers far outweigh any advantage.  Here's a case in point, The Modesto Bee reported that teacher, James Hooker in Modesto California has quit his job and left his family to move in with his 18-year-old student.  During the course of their courtship, Hooker sent over 8000 text messages to student/true love.
8000.  That’s a staggering number.  Think about the amount of time someone would have to dedicate to a task to do it 8000 times.

Most of us are appalled by this.  But we really should not be surprised. When teachers foster private relationships with students whether through text, email or face to face nothing good happens.  Students reveal too much, teachers become too familiar.  Hooker believes he has found true love. 
Reminds me of the scene from Election …. “But we’re in love!”
A teacher should never be looking for love in the classroom.  Not a friend, not a confidant, not a drinking buddy.  The teacher should only find students in the classroom.  If Hooker and Jordan Powers are to be believed, the relationship started normally when class started in September (?) but evolved as the year went on.  With the number of text-messages sent between the two how could it not?
Here are a couple of take-aways for teachers and administrators:
-     Never collect or allow teachers to collect private phone numbers from students;

-     When using email, send only group emails.  If you must send a confidential email to  a student – cc an administrator or parent;

-     Safely text students by using a service like  This service allows students and parents to opt in to the class text list.  Teachers never see student phone numbers;

-     Follow-up on rumors.  Someone in the building knew that Hooker was developing a relationship with Powers.  They may have ignored or explained away the signs but someone knew.

Photo Credit: Modesto Bee, Debbie Noda

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