Teacher James Hooker Leaves Family, Job for High School Student

  @JaceyFortin on March 01 2012 4:12 PM

Jordan Powers met high school teacher James Hooker when she was only 15.

Three years later, the two have shocked their Modesto, Calif., community by admitting to a romantic relationship and moving into an apartment together.

Hooker, 41, quit his job at Enochs High School and left his wife and two children, including a 17-year-old daughter. In making our choice, we've hurt a lot of people, said Hooker to the Sacramento Bee. We keep asking ourselves, 'Do we make everyone else happy or do we follow our hearts?'

He's my best friend, said Jordan Powers in an ABC interview. I mean, he's more than just a lover.

According to her mother Tammie Powers, Jordan, who turned 18 last fall, was an obedient daughter who cleaned her room and came home before curfew. But she had begun to exhibit signs of stress, including poor grades and panic attacks.

Tammie Powers said she went to the police after discovering evidence of after-hours text messages and phone calls between Hooker and her daughter. The correspondences occurred, she said, while Jordan was still a minor. She also claims that there are photographs of her daughter sitting in Hooker's lap while she was still a student in his business class.

She looked up to him, said Tammie Powers. In the position of an educator, don't abuse your student. Period.

Both Hooker and Jordan maintain that their relationship was not physical before she turned 18. I think that they're just digging for something that wasn't there, said Jordan. I mean, of course they're going to be curious. But I know for a fact that there was nothing.

Hooker added, I think the stigma of the student-teacher relationship just makes it messy, makes it really hard for people to get through to the point that we really do like each other. We really do want to have a future together. He also asserted that he never felt attracted to Jordan while he was her teacher.

Jordan plans to walk at her high school graduation, but has opted to pursue independent study for the remainder of the semester instead of attending classes. Hooker is under investigation by Modesto police.

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