Texas principal accuses district of racism for removing kissing photo

Texas high school principal accuses district of racism for forcing him to remove Facebook photo of him kissing his white wife

  • James Whitfield, 43, a black man, said district officials forced him to take down the photo from social media the day he became principal in 2019
  • It was part of an anniversary photoshoot on the beach with his wife, Kerrie
  • ‘Is this the Dr. Whitfield we want leading our schools?,’  the district email read 
  • Whitfield went public with the story following heated discussion on race at the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District
  • District claimed the request was made to provide a ”smooth transition’ as Whitfield became the Colleyville Heritage High School’s first black principal

A black high school principal said race was at the forefront of his bosses’ decision to force him take down photos of him embracing and kissing his white wife from social media.

James Whitfield, 43, said that when he became the principal of Colleyville Heritage High School in 2019, he received an email from the district about a beachside photoshoot he had taken with his wife, Kerrie, for their anniversary a decade ago.

‘I look at the picture, and I look at the words above it, and it says, ‘Is this the Dr. Whitfield we want leading our schools?’ I showed it to my wife, who immediately begins to well up with tears,’ Whitfield said. 

When he became principal of Colleyville Heritage High School in 2019, James Whitfield received an email from the district with this photo of him and his wife during their anniversary 10 years ago

Whitfield and his wife, Kerrie, said they teared up at the email, believing that it implied that there was something wrong with interracial marriage 

The couple had hired a professional photographer to take pictures of them at the beach for their anniversary a decade ago. Whitfield had the photos up on his social media

Whitfield shared his story via Facebook on July 31, days after a heated district meeting

Whitfield has led the high school for two years now. He is shown above posing with an officer and the school’s mascot during a school event

He claims the photos received complaints back then because it featured an interracial couple. 

Although he removed the pictures, Whitfield went public with the story last week after a heated meeting between Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District officials and parents over race on July 26, The New York Times reports. 

Some parents had accused him of pushing critical race theory and programs that ensured equality and diversity.  

Critical race theory is an educational program that seeks to understand the roots and persistence of racial disparities in the U.S. 

Opponents claim teaching critical race theory is harmful to young students and is itself racist. 

‘I am not the CRT Boogeyman. I am the first African American to assume the role of Principal at my current school,’ Whitfield wrote on Facebook. 

‘For the better part of the last year, I’ve been told repeatedly to just ‘get around the fact that there are some racist people’ and ‘just deal with it and stay positive’…but I will stay silent no longer.’

In a statement, the district did not address the meeting, but it said the request to remove the photos of Whitfield and his wife was meant to provide a ‘smooth transition.’ 

Whitfield often posts photos of himself with his family on social media. He is pictured above with his son after voting in November

Whitfield is the high school’s first black principal

Whitfield believes that race was at the center of the complaint over the photo of himself with his wife

Some parents have accused Whitfield of pushing critical race theory

‘Some of the photos the district received contained poses that are questionable for an educator, especially a principal or administrator. It had absolutely nothing to do with race,’ the statement said. 

Whitfield added that he had recieved an ‘overwhelming’ outpour of support from the community, with more than 1,000 people signing an online petition to side with him.

“I think it’s sweet. He’s a happily married man. It’s he and his beautiful wife, they have a beautiful family,” Sunni Roppollo, who has children at Colleyville Heritage High, told NBC.  

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