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Teacher Sparks Controversy After Posting Video Of Students Unbraiding His Hair, Ends Up Fired
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Teacher In Tears After Being Fired For Letting Students Unbraid His Hair

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A teacher’s widely watched video, capturing his students unbraiding his hair, turned into a hotly debated topic with the internet divided over whether it was appropriate or not.

The science teacher named JaQ Lee was pushed to the center of controversy after he livestreamed the last few minutes of class and showed four of his female students unbraiding his hair.

The educator later posted a clip from the livestream on Friday, May 3, 2024, and the four-minute-odd video drew massive attention to his classroom ethics. Some reports also claimed that JaQ Lee was fired after people tsk-tsked his actions.

JaQ Lee was pushed to the center of controversy because of a viral clip of his students unbraiding his hair

Image credits: thilluminatin1

“Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Teaching is a work of heart,” he captioned the clip.

In the TikTok video that amassed more than 6.8 million views, the middle school teacher explained in a voice-over that he had a hair appointment after school that day and couldn’t unbraid his hair the night before.

“That Friday, we had a camera crew coming in to shoot a promotional video, and I was one of the ones being interviewed. I had to look presentable, so I had to take my hair out. I didn’t have the time to do it all myself,” he explained.

Reports say that the science teacher lost his job, as many expressed disapproval upon seeing the incident

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Image credits: thilluminatin1

He went on to address certain claims from netizens who felt it was “too intimate” for his students to be unbraiding his hair. It’s “literally just hair,” the science teacher reasoned.

“If I was a female teacher, those people wouldn’t be in the comments saying, ‘Oh, this is weird, this is inappropriate.’ Because me personally, I know think there isn’t anything weird about this. People are saying, ‘Oh, that’s too intimate.’ To me, it’s literally just hair,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be weird.”

“Some people have never had cool teachers, and it shows,” the content creator said in his TikTok video

Image credits: thilluminatin1

The TikToker with more than 768.6K followers also explained that he strives to be the kind of educator who is not only focused on teaching what is written in textbooks but going beyond by building a rapport with his students.

“I take the time to get to know my students outside of academics because caring for the whole child is what’s important,” he said.

The viral clip of the teacher explaining his actions amassed more than 6.8 million views

@thilluminatin1 Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Teaching is a work of heart. Comment your thoughts #teacher #teachersoftiktok #teacherproblems #millenialsoftiktok #middleschool ♬ Chopin Nocturne No.2 Op.9-2(1391533) – 314P

“What I strive to do as an educator is be the teacher I wish I had growing up,” he added. “I strive to be the teacher that makes my inner child happy, someone that my inner child will be proud of. I wanna be the teacher that my students reflect back on 20, 30 years down the line and think like, ‘Dang, that teacher I had in middle school, he was the sh–.’”

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To naysayers writing comments about intimacy, the content creator said there was “nothing suggestive” going on.

The teacher revealed in one video that he promised he would reward his students with a beverage and snack for patiently unbraiding his hair

Image credits: thilluminatin1

“We as a people have to abandon this idea of sexual intimacy being tied with getting your hair done. Y’all can see there’s nothing suggestive going on. It’s like family, it’s like community… this is simply a wholesome, innocent community-oriented activity,” he said.

Plenty of people defended the TikTok personality’s actions in the classroom and said, “Its like a big brother and lil sister behavior.”

JaQ Lee picked out one particular social media user’s negative comment and explained why he thought his actions were appropriate in a classroom

@thilluminatin1 Replying to @Richie 😮‍💨 let me know if you made it through this whole clip 🙏🏽 #teacher #teachers #teachersoftiktok #teacherlife #teacherproblems #middleschool #millenialsoftiktok ♬ original sound – JaQ Lee

“I see nothing wrong. Some of them may not have a father figure or big brother at home, so keep it up. Be there for them,” one said, while another chimed in, “Not to mention… culturally… this is a very very common bonding/communication/learning moment.”

“A safe space is important. It takes a village,” another said.

The science teacher was seen tearfully reading out messages from his students in a video posted after the controversy

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Image credits: thilluminatin1

A commenter, who described themself as a “social worker,” said, “You are following all of the appropriate boundaries! You are in the open, not alone with one student, and the students are willing participants. The energy is great.”

On the other hand, people on the other side of the argument said they wouldn’t want their child doing this.

“As a mother I would have been livid!!!!” one said.

In the messages the students sent the teacher, some said they missed his presence and were waiting for his return to the school

@thilluminatin1 #teacher ♬ Sad and sad guitar(1102575) – syummacha

Another said, “Idk about this…it seems kinda intimate to me but i guess.”

“It’s definitely something I’ve never seen before and wouldn’t want my child to do,” read one comment.

“Nope. This a boundary that you don’t cross,” said another.

JaQ Lee has more than 768.9K followers on TikTok because of the fun videos he captures from within the walls of his classroom

@thilluminatin1 We’re ✨building relationships✨😂😅 #teacher #teachersoftiktok #teacherlife #teacherproblems #middleschool #gossip ♬ original sound – TheWadeEmpire


Following the backlash, the TikTok-famous educator addressed negative comments targeting his video and said he believes people should disentangle the “intimacy” notions attached to hair.

He also posted a video of himself growing visibly emotional and crying as he read out comments from his students saying they miss his presence in school and are looking forward to his return.

In another video he later shared on TikTok, JaQ Lee shared snippets from school that make him an “unconventional teacher.”

“An unconventional teacher is someone who eschews traditional teaching methods and approaches in favor of innovative, creative, and non-traditional techniques to engage and educate their students,” he wrote in the caption.

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The internet hotly debated the act of students unbraiding the teacher’s hair, with some thinking there was nothing wrong, while others said it was inappropriate

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Binitha Jacob

Binitha Jacob

Writer, BoredPanda staff

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Working as a writer for Bored Panda offers an added layer of excitement. By afternoon, I'm fully immersed in the whirlwind of celebrity drama, and by evening, I'm navigating through the bustling universe of likes, shares, and clicks. This role not only allows me to delve into the fascinating world of pop culture but also lets me do what I love: weave words together and tell other people's captivating stories to the world

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Binitha Jacob

Binitha Jacob

Writer, BoredPanda staff

Working as a writer for Bored Panda offers an added layer of excitement. By afternoon, I'm fully immersed in the whirlwind of celebrity drama, and by evening, I'm navigating through the bustling universe of likes, shares, and clicks. This role not only allows me to delve into the fascinating world of pop culture but also lets me do what I love: weave words together and tell other people's captivating stories to the world

Karina Babenok

Karina Babenok

Author, BoredPanda staff

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As a visual editor in the News team, I look for the most interesting pictures and comments to make each post interesting and informative through images, so that you aren't reading only blocks of text. I joined Bored Panda not that long ago, but in this short amount of time I have covered a wide range of topics: from true crime to Taylor Swift memes (my search history is very questionable because of that). In my freetime, I enjoy spending time at the gym, gaming, binging Great British Bake Off and adding yet another tattoo artist that I would love to get a tattoo from to my pinterest board.

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Karina Babenok

Karina Babenok

Author, BoredPanda staff

As a visual editor in the News team, I look for the most interesting pictures and comments to make each post interesting and informative through images, so that you aren't reading only blocks of text. I joined Bored Panda not that long ago, but in this short amount of time I have covered a wide range of topics: from true crime to Taylor Swift memes (my search history is very questionable because of that). In my freetime, I enjoy spending time at the gym, gaming, binging Great British Bake Off and adding yet another tattoo artist that I would love to get a tattoo from to my pinterest board.

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kristynlnu avatar
K. LNU
Community Member
5 days ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I don't really see anything wrong here (except the wording of the title. He didn't "Make" the students unbraid his hair). They were out in the open, kids were not forced into this, and to be fair, it was recorded. Now, that being said, I don't think everything needs to be put on social media.

marneederider40 avatar
Marnie
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I agree about social media, but in this case, someone was there filming something, so it wasn't like it was just a casual filming and posting on social media as a matter of course (if I understand correctly).

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winterwidow87 avatar
winterwidow87
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I really want to know what's intimate about hair. People do be weird man.

adambelaire avatar
Adam Belaire
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My hair's in the pie, Brian. And now it's inside of you. Part of me is inside of you, Brian. Do you feel me, Brian? Do you feel me inside of you?

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adambelaire avatar
Adam Belaire
Community Member
5 days ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My two thoughts. First, some people will think anything and everything will be sexual and have a fit. Nothing new there. Second, I'd like to know the before they unbraided. Did he ask and they volunteered, did he pick the students and then say come unbraid my hair, did he comment that he didn't have time and the students offered and came to his aid? Totally different contexts based on the approach.

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kristynlnu avatar
K. LNU
Community Member
5 days ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I don't really see anything wrong here (except the wording of the title. He didn't "Make" the students unbraid his hair). They were out in the open, kids were not forced into this, and to be fair, it was recorded. Now, that being said, I don't think everything needs to be put on social media.

marneederider40 avatar
Marnie
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I agree about social media, but in this case, someone was there filming something, so it wasn't like it was just a casual filming and posting on social media as a matter of course (if I understand correctly).

Load More Replies...
winterwidow87 avatar
winterwidow87
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I really want to know what's intimate about hair. People do be weird man.

adambelaire avatar
Adam Belaire
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My hair's in the pie, Brian. And now it's inside of you. Part of me is inside of you, Brian. Do you feel me, Brian? Do you feel me inside of you?

Load More Replies...
adambelaire avatar
Adam Belaire
Community Member
5 days ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My two thoughts. First, some people will think anything and everything will be sexual and have a fit. Nothing new there. Second, I'd like to know the before they unbraided. Did he ask and they volunteered, did he pick the students and then say come unbraid my hair, did he comment that he didn't have time and the students offered and came to his aid? Totally different contexts based on the approach.

Load More Comments
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