James Whitfield, the first Black principal at Colleyville Heritage High School, has been suspended after parents at a Texas high school accused him of teaching critical race theory.
On Monday, district Superintendent Robin Ryan sent a letter to parents explaining that Whitfield had been placed on paid administrative leave, reported NBCDFW.
“I wanted to share information with you regarding the leadership at Colleyville Heritage High School. Effective immediately, Dr. Whitfield has been put on paid administrative leave,” Ryan wrote. An interim principal had been appointed in his place.
Whitfield, a Black man, was named principal of the school for the 2020-2021 school year. Soon after, he was accused online and at board meetings of teaching Critical Race Theory.
According to Whitfield in an interview he granted weeks ago, the district is targeting him because he spoke in defense of himself after someone at a board meeting made salacious statements about him.
“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,” Whitfield said.
The man he was referring to is Stetson Clark, who recently lost a school board election in the district.
He claims that instead of dispelling the rumors that are swirling about him, the district is giving credence to the falsehoods.
Under the surface, besides Whitfield being Black in Colleyville, a mostly white suburb, he married is to a white woman.
In early August, the district questioned a photo that Whitfield had on his social media of himself and his wife in a romantic, yet not explicit, pose. The post was celebrating their wedding anniversary.
Once the district found out about the photo from a concerned parent, they called it, “questionable,” and ordered Whitfield to take it down without explanation.
Although there is no information on long Whitfield is expected to be suspended, he does have some support from his students. A petition was started and has hundreds of signatures in defense of this embattled administrator.