A sixth-grade teacher in Florida has sparked outrage after posting a series of TikTok videos featuring white students bowing to black peers and mocking their state’s “Stop Woke Act,” which seeks to prohibit Critical Race Theory and other discriminatory lessons from entering public schools. Ethan Hooper, an educator at Howard Middle School in Orlando, has been strongly condemned by parents and other observers for exploiting children as political props.
Orange County Public Schools, Hooper's employer, released a statement expressing disapproval of the videos. In the clip, Hooper pretends to seize books from students, including Harry Potter and The Hate You Give, while yelling “Gotta go! Gotta go! Absolutely not!”
Reactions to the teacher’s behavior were swift and critical with one father noting that he would be disturbed if his child was used for political gain without his consent. Multiple critics have called for Hooper to lose his job and have expressed shock at a school employee creating student-focused content during class hours on social media.
“If one of the teachers was using my kid for political gain, that would upset me,” one father said. “What if I don’t believe in that, and, you know, that’s not what I’m teaching my kid?”
“He needs to lose his job now,” another critic declared. “He can take his issues to adults in the system. Instead, he used children he’s supposed to be caring for on a personal social media account,” one critic of the video said, while another critic chimed in, “What is a teacher doing on social media during school hours, much less posting his students’ identities?”
Orange County Public Schools further commented that they will not tolerate any exploitation of students for political purposes. Superintendent Maria Vazquez described being appalled by the teacher’s actions and affirmed that such behavior is forbidden in their district. It was revealed that Hooper was placed on administrative leave as a result of the incident with Orange County Public Schools spokesperson Michael Ollendorf confirming that, “Any employee of 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.”
This Florida teacher made students participate in a skit for black history month where white students act like servants for black students pic.twitter.com/g29SgNd3pn
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) February 17, 2023