Anna Caplan, Dallas Morning News, August 30, 2021
Colleyville Heritage High School principal James Whitfield has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to Grapevine-Colleyville ISD officials.
In a letter to parents Monday, Superintendent Robin Ryan wrote that Whitfield has been placed on leave but that he would “not go into the specifics because it is a personnel matter.”
Whitfield, the school’s first Black principal, told The Dallas Morning News on Monday night that he was told he was put on leave indefinitely “because the superintendent has ‘determined that doing so is in the best interest of the District.’”
The move comes a week after the principal and a crowd of supporters attended a school board meeting to address claims from a group of parents who say he is teaching critical race theory.
At a board meeting a few weeks before last week’s, the parent group accused Whitfield by name — which is against school board meeting rules.
“I’ve only chosen to speak out against baseless allegations after [the district] allowed a man to speak my name at the July 26 board meeting,” he said.
“I am not the CRT (Critical Race Theory) Boogeyman. I am the first African American to assume the role of Principal at my current school in its 25-year history, and I am keenly aware of how much fear this strikes in the hearts of a small minority who would much rather things go back to the way they used to be,” he wrote.
Also in the post, the principal referred to an incident in which a school administrator asked Whitfield to remove a photo of him and his wife, who is white, from his Facebook page.
In a statement to KXAS-TV (NBC5), the district said the photos it received “contained poses that are questionable for an educator, especially a principal or administrator. It had absolutely nothing to do with race.”