Texas High School’s First Black Principal on Leave for Allegedly Promoting CRT
The first Black principal of a Texas high school has been placed on administrative leave more than a month after he was accused of promoting critical race theory (CRT) in schools.
James Whitfield joined Colleyville Heritage High School in May 2020. During a district board meeting on July 26, former school board candidate Stetson Clark publicly named and accused Whitfield of teaching and supporting critical race theory, per Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s David Silva Ramirez.
Kristin Snively, spokesperson for the Grapevine-Colleyville school district, confirmed in an email Monday that Whitley was on administrative leave. She failed to provide any additional details.
CRT is a legal theory based on the assumption that race is a social construct used to oppress people of color rather than a natural, biological feature.
Clark claims he became concerned when he received a letter the principal addressed to parents and children last summer that “promotes the conspiracy theory of systemic racism” and encourages “the disruption and destruction of our districts,” per Silva.
In a July 31 Facebook post, Whitfield denies all accusations of wrongdoing. He also released a statement about the suspension to NBC 5 on Monday afternoon, saying “I have done nothing wrong by anyone. I’ve only chosen to speak up after they allowed that man to speak my name at the board meeting. Instead of speaking out against the behavior … they came after me.”
Students, parents and teachers have continued to gather in support of Whitfield since the July 26 meeting. An online petition encouraging the school board to keep him as principal has garnered more than 1,500 signatures.
“We believe that Dr Whitfield has proven himself to be both professional & inclusive of all of his students and their educational goals & needs while maintaining an upbeat demeanor even at difficult times,” the petition says.
In a Facebook post, Whitfield shared photos of his school students rallying outside the district administration building last week with signs in his honor, adding that he’s “forever grateful for their love, support, and encouragement!”