A video of a Lincoln University professor holding a student’s baby while giving a lecture has gone viral. Although the video was taken in early 2020, the clip has resurfaced and circulated across social media now that the student is graduating this year.
In January 2020, Imani Lamarr a 21-year-old student at the Pennsylvania university, told her health science professor Dr. Aqeel Dix she wouldn’t be able to make it to class because she couldn’t find a babysitter to look after her infant son.
Lamarr had just returned to school after taking a semester off after her son Christopher Murphy was born prematurely.
“He told me no. And I was just looking at him like, no I can’t miss class? I don’t have nobody to watch my baby,” Lamarr told ABC6.
“I’m not going to have one of my students miss my class because they have no one to watch their child. That’s just not an option for me,” Dix said. He instructed Lamarr to bring the baby to class. Dix earned a doctor of education degree from Wilmington University in 2015.
Although Lamarr was concerned about whether her son would be a distraction to herself and other students, she brought Christopher to class.
The viral video shows Dix holding the baby while standing in front of the class during a lecture.
Dix wrote on Instagram under a video of him holding the baby, “It Takes A Village….
When my students need me, I’m there.” He added, “I always say, we as educators are more than our title. I will never have a student miss class because they have no one to keep their kids. I will hold Dr. Dix daycare in the back of my class before I allow them to miss class.”
Lamarr, now the mother of a healthy 2-year-old, will graduate from college in a few months.
Dix told Yahoo he comes from a big family and intentionally held the baby so that he was facing his mother. He said he didn’t know he was being filmed, but that helping out one of his students came naturally.
“I go above and beyond for all of them,” he says. I[‘ve] bought groceries, I picked [a student] up when he was stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire. That’s just who I am. And so I understand the plight of single parents … they tackle school and work. It’s a lot to carry. It’s hard for someone who does not have children to take care of to go to school and be successful.”
Dix added that it was amazing that the video was going viral, and said he was able to reunite with Lamarr and her son. He hopes the video will spread awareness about the importance of educators, especially amid the pandemic. “Teachers wear more than one hat,” he said.