teacher with students braiding his hair (l) teacher with students painting his nails (c) teacher with students braiding his hair (r)

@thilluminatin1/TikTok @thilluminatin1/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Rose

‘I wouldn’t do this if I were you’: Teacher out after letting his students braid his hair and paint his nails

'Idk about this...'


Tiffanie Drayton


Posted on May 13, 2024   Updated on May 16, 2024, 12:46 pm CDT

Update May 16, 12:46pm CT: The middle school teacher has not been fired, Prince George’s Schools (in Maryland) told WUSA9. Marquis White is under investigation amid the viral video and his employer’s policies on student boundaries, and has been “reassigned,” from his classroom “pending the outcome of the investigation.” Our original report is below.

A teacher stirred controversy after seeking praise on TikTok for allowing his students to paint his nails and do his hair in the classroom. According to two reports, the teacher has been fired in the wake of the viral moment. A follow-up video confirms that he’s not currently teaching.

TikTok user and science teacher, Marquise White (@thilluminatin1), who often posts popular teaching-related content, shared multiple videos getting groomed while on the job that have collectively amassed millions of views.

“Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” he argued in the caption of the video where girls surrounded him doing his hair. “Teaching is a work of heart.”

He also invited viewers share their thoughts on the clip. As of this afternoon, there were over 11,900 comments on the video. But after the video gained steam last week, he shared in a follow-up clip that he was no longer teaching in the classroom.

An overwhelming majority of commenters took no issue with the teacher’s behavior.

“I see nothing wrong,” user Donovan said. “Some of them may not have a father figure or big brother at home, so keep it up. Be there for them.”

Over 46,900 TikTokers liked the comment.

Workers in healthcare and education also shared their takes.

“Social Worker here,” user The Purpose Midwife chimed in. “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.”

“Former principal,” user Dana Stokes Lyles wrote. “Nothing weird about this. It’s community and culture. I’ve done and hair done by students. Because we love each other. Send you love as well.”

Others argued that the behavior was culturally appropriate.

“Not to mention… culturally… this is a very very common bonding/communication/learning moment,” user Jennifer White responded.

Teacher painting nails, braiding hair sparks backlash

However, some believed students, especially girls, handling a male teacher’s hair and nails was inappropriate.

“Idk about this…it seems kinda intimate to me but I guess,” user RichoTx said.

“My brother, I wouldn’t do this if I were you,” user P.E. Chronicles commented. “Too many things can go wrong.”

“Like what?” the educator shot back.

The commenter then expressed concerns over false allegations and potentially getting in trouble with the school.

“I’m fine with it,” another commenter said. “But does it go against the rules of the school board? if so, you may need to ded that if you wanna keep your job.”

Similar sentiments were shared in the comments of the video where the educator received a manicure from one of his students.

Nonetheless, some commenters expressed concerns that the teacher may have been fired for his in-class behavior.

@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

According to the non profit Visions in Education, appropriate student/teacher boundaries, educators are always expected to maintain “the highest professional standards” in their interactions with students. However, there is very little specific guidance about whether or not students can do a teachers hair or nails. Most education policies expect teachers to use proper discernment in assessing the appropriateness of their own conduct.

The Daily Dot reached out to Marquise White via TikTok message for comment and more information.

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*First Published: May 13, 2024, 12:27 pm CDT