The Modesto Bee With Permission
James Hooker, 41, left his wife and kids to live with Jordan Powers, 18, who was until recently one of his students at Enochs High School in Modesto. Such a liaison would be a felony under a bill introduced by a Republican Assemblywoman.
Nothing like national attention to inspire legislation outlawing teacher-student dating.
The case of a 41-year old Modesto schoolteacher who left his wife and three children to date a former student still in school inspired Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen to take action. The Modesto Republican's bill would make such relationships a felony, and strip the offending teacher of pension and health care benefits, according to the Associated Press.
James Hooker, 41, quit his job to move in with Jordan Powers, 18, who was in several of Hooker's business and computer classes, according to reports.
The pair have defended their relationship on national talk shows, saying that it did not turn sexual until Powers turned 18, the AP reported. Tammie Powers, Powers' mother, has waged a very public campaign against the relationship, but as both participants are adults, there's very little anyone can do.
As many as 23 other states already impose felony charges on K-12 teachers who date students, regardless of age, according to the Modesto Bee.
Right now it would just apply to public school teachers, but the dating ban might be extended to private schools, an Olsen staffer said.
Hooker has not been charged with any crimes.