Florida Teacher Placed on Administrative Leave After White Students Act as Servants to Black Students

An Orange County, Florida, teacher has been placed on administrative leave after TikTok videos revealed him confiscating books from students and showing white students acting as servants to Black students.

According to WESH 2, Ethan Hooper, a sixth-grade language arts teacher at Howard Middle School, decided to mock Florida’s book ban.

One video shows Hooper confiscating a Harry Potter book and other books such as Crossover, Class Act, and The Hate You Give. Hooper goes a step further. After confiscating dictionaries from the students, he has them repeat that reading is bad.

Another video shows Hooper’s white students acting as servants to his Black students. However, none of this sat well with school officials. 

Orange County school district accused Hooper of using students as political pawns, WESH reports.

“We all agreed to do it,” said Jaida Jackson, one of the students in the video, to WESH. “He really didn’t do anything wrong.”

Jackson added that neither she nor her classmates support Hooper’s administrative leave.

“He’s one of my favorite teachers. He’s probably the best,” Jackson said.

Jackson’s mother, Shauna Thompson, doesn’t support the school district’s decision. Thompson liked that the students were in discourse about a current issue.

“The fact that students really devised the content specifically means that it’s something that matters to them. And to say that they were used as pawns is false,” Thompson said.

Thompson, who is a former educator, added: “A lot of [the students] are feeling guilt because when you love somebody, you want to protect them, and they’re so young, they don’t understand what’s happening. Why are adults coming for our favorite teacher?”

Hooper is drawing support from one mother who sent a statement saying Hooper did nothing wrong, adding that her daughter was in tears because her favorite teacher was being disciplined.

But not everyone agrees with Hooper’s teaching methods. 

One Twitter user said this was racist and pathetic.

Another user added: Not to mention, these teachers are putting other people’s children online for anyone to see. I doubt these teachers sent permission slips home asking the parents if they can put their children’s faces on their personal TikTok page.” 

Orange County Public Schools sent a statement to WESH: “Orange County Public Schools will not tolerate the use of our children as political pawns by anyone, including a classroom teacher. Any employee who creates videos or other content with students in an effort to exploit them for political purposes will be immediately removed from the classroom, placed on administrative leave, and swift action will be taken to terminate employment.”

“I am appalled at the behavior and judgment of the teacher who posted the inappropriate videos using his students as political props,” superintendent Maria Vazquez said in a statement. “This is not free speech — it is the exploitation of our students for political purposes, and it will not be tolerated in our school district.”

The uproar comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis rejected AP African American Studies courses and his signing of the Stop WOKE Act, which limits how race and gender can be taught in classrooms.