Florida Teacher Suspended After Using Students As 'Political Props' In TikTok Videos

Brittany M. Hughes | February 20, 2023
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A Florida teacher has been suspended and will likely be fired after forcing his students to participate in a skit blasting so-called “book banning” efforts by state lawmakers who’re trying to weed out pornographic and openly racist material in public elementary and middle schools.

Howard Middle School teacher Ethan Hooper of Orange County has been placed on administrative leave after he posted multiple videos to TikTok using his students to make his own political points, including one in which he mockingly berated kids for reading books like Harry Potter, the dictionary, and novels about black people in order to slam Florida's recent law against porn in classrooms.

“About to run up on these kids and start banning these books right away,” Hooper says in the beginning of the video, before walking up to students reading the books and ripping them out of their hands.

The segment, posted as part of Hooper’s “POV: A Florida Teacher” video series on his personal social media pages, features the middle school teacher wearing a “Black Teachers Matter” shirt throughout the first half of the video. In the final moments, Hooper stands in front of a chalkboard and asks students to repeat, “I shall not read books. Books are bad. If I read, it’s approved by the feds.”

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This same teacher also posted a similar skit video for Black History month showing three black students being ushered into class, seated in honorary chairs and hand-fed snacks by white students while other white students bowed before them.

After the videos began making the rounds on Twitter largely thanks to LibsofTikTok, the school district condemned Hooper using students as props in his personal propaganda videos on social media.

“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,” said Orange County Public Schools Media Manager Michael Ollendorff.

Superintendent Maria Vazquez said she was “appalled at the behavior and judgment of the teacher,” calling the videos “inappropriate.”

“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,” she said.

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