Ripped from the Headlines: Teacher Leaves Family for Student: James, Jordan, Tammie

Face to Face for the First Time
Jordan denies telling her mother that she had stayed in hotels with James.

Tammie confronts James.


Dr. Phil goes back to the field trip that James took with Jordan and other students. Dr. Phil looks at some phone records. Although Jordan claims she called James at 4:00 a.m. during the trip and had a six-minute conversation about how she wasn’t feeling well, Dr. Phil points out that the call was incoming to Jordan from James.

James says he doesn’t recall ever calling Jordan.

“You called her on a field trip. You’re the chaperone. You’re responsible for this kid. You’re calling her at four in the morning,” Tammi says.

“I remember her calling me, telling me that she was leaving,” James says. “And you can ask the other student that was in the room.”

“I’m asking you, why you’re calling my kid at four in the morning,” she says.

Dr. Phil points out to James that he seems unwilling to acknowledge that Tammie is concerned that her daughter is involved with a teacher 23 years older. “Take the high road. It’s much less travelled ... She’s saying, ‘Look, this is my daughter. Turn her loose. Don’t steal her adolescence from her. Don’t steal her childhood from her,’” he says.

[AD]Dr. Phil explains that relationships that are born from infidelity are doomed from the start. “Statistically, this is an extremely high-risk relationship,” he tells Jordan. “And what you have to consider that you haven’t is that if he’ll do it with you, he’ll do it to you.”

James says he understands what Dr. Phil is telling them, but says, “I’m willing to see where it takes us.” He says they both understand the consequences.
Dr. Phil asks Jordan about her future family plans. She says she’s on birth control right now. James says he’s willing to start another family when Jordan is ready.

“Are you at all concerned that he would do to your children what he’s done to his?” Dr. Phil asks Jordan.

“I hope not, no,” she says.

“He walked out on his. Is he going to walk out on yours?” he asks. Dr. Phil asks Jordan to give it some thought.

Tammie speaks up. “First of all, didn’t you have a vasectomy? Can you even have children? You’ve already had your kids — she hasn’t. She’s just starting. How dare you take that from her?”

James says he can potentially have more children.

“What do you want her to do?” Dr. Phil asks Tammie.

“Leave. This is ridiculous,” she says.

A statement was given on behalf of James’ family: “This is a very difficult time for them, so family, friends and the church body have gathered around to support them as they work through the pain caused by James’ decision to abandon his family. Their hearts go out to [Jordan’s] family for the hurt they are experiencing as well.”

[AD]Dr. Phil points out that Jordan is studying from home to avoid the controversy, and James’ daughter, who is one year younger than Jordan, has had to change schools. “How do you feel about that?”

“We knew that there was going to be consequences,” he says.

You knew that there was going to be consequences,” Tammie says. “She’s not there yet. She didn’t know there was going to be consequences. She’s a kid!”

“She can speak for herself,” James says.Dr. Phil asks Jordan, “If you knew then what you know now, would you still have gone down this path? Would you still have gotten involved with him?”

“Yes, I would have,” the teen says.

“She’s a child. She doesn’t understand the magnitude of this,” Tammie tells Dr. Phil. “I think eventually, when the novelty wears off, the media wears off, she will leave.”

“How do you feel toward your mother? Are you upset with her that she’s upset with you, and that she’s upset with James?” Dr. Phil asks Jordan.

“Well, yeah, I mean, it definitely hurts me about the stuff that she’s said about us, and it’s definitely impacted and changed my life because of all of this, but I do love her. I mean, she’s the only parent I have left. My dad passed away. She’s always been really important to me, and I’ll continue to try to build that relationship with her, because I do love her,” she says. Jordan says she understands where her mother is coming from.

[AD]Dr. Phil tells her that one day she will be thankful that her mother stood by her and continued to support her. “I know you don’t believe that, and I know you don’t see that now. This is a high-risk relationship. It is an unhealthy relationship. It is not in your best interest, in my view,” he says.

Does James have remorse for how his actions have affected Jordan’s family?