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James Whitfield Texas principal

Source: NBCDFW / iOne Digital

James Whitfield, a black principal in Texas was forced to resign this week after months of controversy surrounding accusations that he forced critical race theory onto students. Whitfield was put on paid administrative leave in September after a parent claimed he was promoting “conspiracy theory of systemic racism.”

On Monday the board of trustees of the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District voted to go their separate ways with the former Colleyville Heritage High School principal.  Colleyville Heritage is a majority white high school in the Dallas Fort Worth area. 

In a joint statement, Whitfield and the school district said they had “mutually agreed to resolve their disputes.”

“Both the District and Dr. Whitfield each strongly believe they are in the right. However, each also agrees that the division in the community about this matter has impacted the education of the District’s students,” the statement read in part. “The District and Dr. Whitfield have mutually agreed to resolve their disputes.”

In an interview with NBC News earlier this week, Whitfield let his feelings be known about his situation. 

“This is beyond me,” Whitfield said. “I’m hopeful that we can use this to move forward and to progress and get some true meaningful change and for people to be OK with teaching truth, people to be OK with embracing inclusivity and diversity, celebrating every student that walks through the doors of our schools.”

The parents at the high school accused Whitfield of pushing critical race theory even though no evidence has been found to support those claims. Texas is one of the few states that ban critical race theory.  According to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth, Whitfield was also accused of insubordination, he was alleged to have deleted emails and refused to cooperate with an internal investigation. Whitfield was already suspended earlier this year. 

Whitfield will remain on paid administrative leave until his resignation becomes effective on August 15, 2023. Critical race theory has become a divisive political issue because of disagreements on how to teach America’s troubled racial history. Whitfield is looking to remain in education moving forward and he wishes that his situation would start larger and necessary conversations about race and education. 

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