Teacher And Former Student Embrace National Media Attention
The two went on an exclusive interview with ABC Thursday night, openly displaying and defending their relationship. Hooker is a business teacher who left his job and family last week to move into an apartment with Powell. He has a wife and three children, including a 17-year-old daughter who attends Modesto’s James Enochs High School with Powell.
Tammie Powers, Jordan Powell's mother, said she has reason to believe the teacher-student relationship started before her daughter turned 18, despite the couple’s claims the relationship only blossomed once she became legal. Tammie Powers wants to see Hooker in jail and has handed over to authorities records of phone records showing long, late-night phone calls and more than 8,000 text messages between the couple.
Powers knew about the relationship since last month, but was in for a surprise last week when Hooker came over to move her daughter’s belongings into his apartment. Since then, she has used her Facebook page to warn other parents.
“Clearly, he has a disconnect and bad judgment,” she told ABC. “And I don’t want another student to be in this position, or another family, ever.”
Police are currently investigating the couple’s relationship.
“The fact that there were these 8,000 messages, there was an ongoing relationship that was extracurricular, that doesn’t pass the smell test,” criminal attorney David Cohen said.
TIME reported Jordan Powers has stopped attending school and is finishing her senior year through independent study.
Of Hooker, she told ABC, “[He’s] my best friend. I mean, he’s more than just a lover.”
In considering whether to carry on their relationship, Hooker told the Sacramento Bee, “We keep asking ourselves, ‘Do we make everyone else happy or do we follow our hearts?’” In this case, following his heart may just mean trouble with the law.
The Modesto Bee ran a story on the moral, accountability and ethical issues the relationship raised:
Did it break with community values? Yes, say ModBee Facebook posts:
Erin Ray Mar posts: "If it were a year later, and he weren't in a position of authority, it wouldn't bother me. But violating a position of trust bothers me immensely, and my heart breaks for his wife and children."
Chris Harami writes: "Yes, she is 18, that hardly means she has any common sense yet."
Sheri Denney's take: "This is disgusting, but it could happen at any school. Like one of the earlier posts said, you can condemn the school or all the other teachers there. We need to be raising our children to know better. We need to be more involved in their lives, so maybe this kind of thing never happens."
Webpronews.com reported the two are scheduled to make appearances on NBC’s “Today Show.” “Dr. Phil,” “Inside Edition,” and “Nancy Grace” also want them to make guest appearances.
Powers also told The Modesto Bee:
"James Hooker is reveling in his short-term spotlight and notoriety. I have always contended that my ultimate goal is to gather facts and as a result of the publicity, someone will come forward with pertinent information," she said. "At the end of the day, my daughter's still with James Hooker."
View the ABC exclusive interview here:
Follow Executive Producer Rosa Trieu on Twitter.