Reporting Andrea Menniti
MODESTO (CBS13) – A Modesto teacher has left his wife and kids and quit his job to move in with his 18-year-old former student.
The teacher, 41-year-old James Hooker, resigned from his position at James Enochs High School last week after investigations were launched into his relationship with a student.
His girlfriend, 18-year-old Jordan Powers is a senior used to be a student in Hooker’s class.
“He’s 41, she’s 18, it’s legal but gross,” one student said.
The situation has cast a dark cloud over the school, where one of Hooker’s daughters attends and where Hooker was actively involved with students.
“I feel like he took advantage of the situation,” student Erica Goynes said, “and it’s tough for us because he wasn’t an anonymous teacher. He was involved in so many clubs and in so many aspects of our school, so it’s just very disappointing for
During a short phone interview, Hooker told CBS13 he started dating powers after she turned 18 on Sept. 5.
But the teen’s mother believes the inappropriate relationship started while her daughter was underage. Students at Enochs High have heard the same thing.
“She was 14 when they first got together,” one student said. “That’s pretty disgusting, a guy like an old man would try and go with a really young girl.”
Hooker recently left his wife and children, one almost the same age as Powers, and moved into an apartment with his teen lover.
The teacher-student romance spurred controversy and Hooker resigned from his position as a high school business teacher and club leader last week after being placed on paid administrative leave while the school district and Modesto Police Department investigate the relationship.
Some parents expressed relief that Hooker is no longer on campus.
“It’s definitely wrong of him to pursue her in any way while he was still a teacher,” said parent Nicole Peacock.
Modesto police say the relationship remains under investigation. No criminal charges have been filed.