A Black principal who resigned after parents accused him of teaching critical race theory says ‘we’re dealing with people that are delusional’

James Whitfield.

James Whitfield.James Whitfield

  • A Black principal resigned last week after parents in the district accused him of teaching “critical race theory.”

  • James Whitfield will step down as principal as part of a settlement with the school district.

  • He said educators are “dealing with people that are delusional” amid school district culture wars.

A Black principal who resigned after critics accused him of teaching critical race theory to students said educators are “dealing with people that are delusional” as school district culture wars rage on.

“They’re not grounded in any sort of reality,” the principal, James Whitfield, told Insider. “It is important that we meet that delusion with what’s real and we speak truth, and we’re unapologetic in our stance to stand firmly in what is true and right.”

Whitfield announced his resignation as principal of Colleyville Heritage High School near Fort Worth, Texas, last week after a saga that dates back to summer 2020, which was sparked after sent a letter to the school community saying that systemic racism is “alive and well” as racial justice protests swept the nation.

In the letter, which was reviewed by Insider, Whitfield urged the community to “commit to being an anti-racist.”

Whitfield, 43, told Insider that he initially received positive responses to the letter, but that changed in July 2021.

During a July 31 Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District board meeting, a former school board candidate alleged that Whitfield was teaching and promoting “critical race theory,” a learning approach that examines racial bias in US laws and institutions.

The academic theory, which is mostly taught at the university level and doesn’t feature in Colleyville Heritage High School’s curriculum, has become a target in the last year for conservative leaders and parents concerned by baseless claims of students being indoctrinated.

The man said Whitfield has “extreme views” and called for his contract to be terminated as other attendees at the meeting applauded and cheered in the background.

Whitfield denied promoting critical race theory and told Insider that it has been eye-opening to see non-partisan school boards turn into “political battlegrounds.”

Whitfield was placed on leave paid leave on August 30, though the district told CNN at the time that it was not related to the critical race theory accusations.

According to a settlement document reviewed by Insider, Whitfield agreed to resign last week and will remain on paid leave until August 15, 2023.

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

Whitfield told Insider he’s “devastated” and that he misses his students and staff.

He said he’s gotten mostly positive support and encouragement since the backlash, but has also been called harsh names and received racist messages in the mail.

Whitfield isn’t quite sure what his next chapter will look like, but he said he wants to continue having an impact in young people’s lives.

“I just want to be part of something that helps bring people together — helps just make the world a better place,” he said.

Read the original article on Insider

General