Prince George’s Co. schools investigate teacher after students unbraid his hair, paint his nails in viral videos

@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

WTOP's José Umaña dives into the controversy behind a local teacher's TikTok posts.

School officials in Prince George’s County, Maryland, are investigating a teacher after viral TikTok videos showed students unbraiding his hair and painting his nails in the classroom.

In a statement to WTOP, Prince George’s County Public Schools said it has reassigned teacher Marquise White away from the classroom, pending the outcome of an investigation.

On May 5, White posted a video to the social media app, claiming he did a livestream with “four or five of my over 100 best friends” assisting in taking his hair out in preparation for a hair appointment.

Some commented during the stream that his behavior was inappropriate and unprofessional. White responded saying that to him, it is “literally just hair.”

“To me, this is just another wholesome moment that I’m having with my kids and I was fortunate enough to catch them on film,” he said.

On May 6, White posted another video showing a student painting his nails. He claimed that the student, who has the goal of being a nail technician, performed the task after his students were done taking a state standardized test.

“She came up and saw my nails looking a little rough, and she decided she wanted to give me a fresh clear coat,” White said.

White’s TikTok account has over 770,000 followers, but the two videos alone have, combined, over 9 million views.

According to the school’s employee code of conduct, teachers are asked to respect a student’s “personal boundaries by maintaining proper space and demonstrate appropriate behaviors” that create a safe learning environment for all students. Employees are also asked not to record student faces and voices unless teaching in a performing arts or career technology class.

In response to the negative feedback, White said in a YouTube video Friday that his students are not forced to participate in his social media posts and agreed that it was “highly unprofessional” to get his hair unbraided at his place of employment. However, he claims his behavior is not inappropriate and his students’ parents approve of their children being a part of his TikTok videos.

The school system’s investigation into his actions was not addressed in the YouTube video.

“Yes, I play my role into this,” White said about the social media attention. “But I did not think that this would get this big.”

The school system did not say where White was employed, but local TV outlet Fox 5 DC reports he taught at the Maya Angelou French Immersion School in Hillcrest Heights. According to his LinkedIn account, White has worked in the school system since 2019.

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José Umaña

José Umaña is a digital editor for WTOP. He’s been working as a journalist for almost a decade, covering local news, education and sports. His work has appeared in The Prince George’s Sentinel, The Montgomery Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, PressBox and The Diamondback.

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