As a parent, certain stories involving the trials and tribulations that other parents go through often catch my eye. This morning while perusing the various local and national news sources, I came across an item that is fast becoming viral. It has gone from the local Modesto Bee, to the local ABC affiliates, to the national spotlight on Good Morning America. There’s even talk that Nancy Grace is going to have a go at this one; it is the torrid tale of Jordan Powers, 18-year-old former high school student of Modesto, California, and her 41-year-old lover, former business teacher James Hooker.
Hooker it seems, is one of Jordan’s former teachers from her time at James C. Enochs High School in Modesto. According to news coverage of the issue, the two became acquainted while Jordan was a Freshman at Enochs High, but that the romantic aspect of their relationship only blossomed after she turned 18 in September of last year. For his part, Hooker has left a wife and children, and resigned (or has been suspended, depending on the news source) from his teaching post at the school so that he could facilitate this relationship with the young Miss Powers.
Jordan’s mother, Tammie Powers (née Mullins) is skeptical of the claims being made by her daughter and Mr. Hooker regarding when the relationship began, and has voiced her suspicions of an earlier start to said relationship. “She looked up to him,” Powers said. “He was in the position of an educator, you don’t abuse your student. Period. She’s still in high school. She still lives at home. She has a curfew. … That’s not OK.” Now, mom has taken to her Facebook page, using it as a forum for her efforts to thwart the relationship between her daughter and James Hooker, as well as seeking his possible incarceration over the issue.
My fine young readers, let me begin my opining on this one by noting that there is quite often, more to these types of stories than what meets the eye. Unfortunately, we can only go with what we know or have been told by those who are “in the know.” In that respect, there are a few things about the situation that bug the hell out of me, let alone the fact that this man is evidently having a mid-life crisis!
First, the economics of the situation are impossible. James Hooker has been suspended from his teaching job, left a wife and children behind, obtained an apartment (separate dwelling from his house, where wife and children remain,) and commenced a romantic relationship with a girl that is still pursuing her last year of compulsory education. Oh, but wait! Allow me to map this out for you all in bullet points;
- James Hooker has lost his job = less / no income coming into either his former or current home(s). [NEGATIVE INCOME]
- James Hooker has left his wife and children = divorce, coupled with alimony and child support. [DEBIT COLUMN]
- James Hooker has left a home behind = possible house payment(s). [DEBIT COLUMN]
- James Hooker has assumed financial responsibility for a new apartment = increased housing and utility costs. [DEBIT COLUMN]
- Finally, James Hooker has assumed financial support of a young adult who is still in high school. [DEBIT COLUMN]
Does anyone other than myself, see anything hinky about this? Unless Mr. Hooker is a trust fund baby, has a very lucrative side job or is rich beyond the dreams of avarice, I don’t see this ending well. Please keep in mind that the one thing that new couples argue and fight about, more than anything else, is the issue of money. I know this personally…been there, done that. Have the tee-shirt, the sweater and the coffee mug!
Second, I don’t personally see how young Miss Powers could have any inkling of an idea about the psychology involved with this situation. It’s quite evident that James Hooker is in the throes of a mid-life crisis. Who else forsakes their job, their home, their family and whatever dignity they might have had, solely to pursue what could only be a “puppy love” relationship with a girl half their age? For the love of GOD, man! Buy a motorcycle or a convertible, grow a ponytail, start rollerblading, bungee jumping or white-water rafting, but cheeze and rice! Don’t go starting a fleeting “May-September” romance with a girl who’s too young to understand what’s going on, or what time it really is! Go grow a goatee, get an ear pierced or get a tattoo! Anything but robbing the cradle!
In addition, I have a few simple thoughts as to what might have precipitated this move by young Jordan. Her mother stated that she was “still in high school, still at home and has a curfew.” She has also stated to the media that until Jordan was “of age,” that she was not allowed to view any “R-rated” movies, and was a “compliant” child in the home. It seems to me that Jordan might be coming out from under the umbrella of a situation that she felt was overly controlling or restrictive. (As I don’t know the Powers’ personally, I just don’t know.) But that would be my guess.
As a parent, I sent “mom” Powers correspondence. In it, I expressed my opinion that since Jordan is indeed an adult now, that Tammie needs to let go. I also encouraged her to be vigilant, and to keep a weather eye on the situation. This problematic situation is however, one that young Jordan Powers will have to reckon out on her own, for her own growth.
For further reading on the topic, please see the following articles:
1) Enochs High teacher resigns after leaving wife, kids for student, 18 // Modesto Bee // Published 28 February, 2012
2) California Teen Leaves School, Moves in With Former Teacher // ABC / GMA / Yahoo! News // Published 01 March, 2012
3) Modesto teacher moves in with former student, 18 // KFSN-ABC 30 // Published 01 March, 2012
4) Mother launches Facebook campaign against former teacher moving in with teen // Fox News / NewsCore // Published 02 March, 2012
5) Mom outraged after daughter moves in with teacher [VIDEO] // CNN Headline News / Nancy Grace // Published 01 March, 2012
6) Inappropriate student-teacher relationship revealed [VIDEO] // Fox News / O’Reilly Factor // Published 01 March, 2012
7) Family of Modesto teacher makes statement; Enochs’ staff ‘appalled’ // Modesto Bee // Published 02 March, 2012