Maryland Teacher Under Investigation After Viral TikTok of Students Taking Out His Braids

Marquise White shared a TikTok of students taking out his braids on May 5, which has since garnered 7.4 million views, 21,000 comments and mixed reactions

A Maryland school teacher is being investigated after he shared a TikTok video of his students taking out his braided hairstyle. 

Marquise White, a teacher at the Maya Angelou French Immersion school in Hillcrest Heights, Md., has been “reassigned out of the classroom pending the outcome of the investigation," Lynn McCawley, Senior Public Information Specialist at Prince George's County Public Schools, said in a statement shared with PEOPLE.

White posted the TikTok live stream, sitting down as a few students removed his braids, on May 5. He has more than 775,000 TikTok followers and several of his videos show him in the classroom teaching his students, as well as discussing life as an educator.

Following the viral video—which has garnered 7.4 million views and more than 21,000 comments—several people have defended the teacher, while others have criticized his behavior.

Related: Ohio Teacher Who Allegedly Called in Sick for 2 Days to Attend Concert Now Faces Termination

Getty Stock image of tests on desks in empty classroom
Getty Stock image of tests on desks in empty classroom

The caption of the video read: “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.”

In another video, which he posted the following day, he documented one student painting his nails.

“The student you see in this video has goals and aspirations to be a nail tech ... Her mom literally watches my videos all the time. Not only does she love my content, but she signed a media release form for her daughter so she can be in my videos,” White explained in the video voice-over.

According to the district’s code of conduct, faculty shouldn’t record students’ faces and voices unless they are teaching a Performing Arts class or Career Technology. Additionally, there are no explicit rules about braiding or painting nails, however, faculty “must respect students’ personal boundaries by maintaining proper space and demonstrate appropriate behaviors.”

Getty Stock image of school Classroom
Getty Stock image of school Classroom

Related: Georgia Teacher Fired for Reading Book About Gender to Fifth-Grade Class: 'Censorship Perpetuates Harm'

Since the initial video and White’s reassignment from the classroom, he has publicly spoken about the incident via TikTok.

"This video, I agree, it was unprofessional. I have not negated that. Me getting my hair unbraided at the school, at my place of employment, yes, that was highly unprofessional. I get that,” said White.

“I'm not arguing with that. But I am what you call an unprofessional, in some ways, eclectic, unconventional teacher,” he said. White then read the definition of inappropriate, citing something is inappropriate “when it doesn't align with accepted social norms, standards or expectations.”

He then added, “As far as this definition is concerned, I can agree that this was not only unprofessional, but this is also inappropriate. Because what I do as a teacher, what you saw on that video, it goes against a lot of standards and just social and societal norms and expectations.”

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White did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment on Friday.

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