A high school principal in Colleyville was forced to remove a photo of him kissing his wife from social media. He said the district refused to explain to him why they took that decision, as NBC DFW reports.
What are the details?
Colleyville Heritage High School Principal James Whitfield has been heavily criticized by parents accusing him of promoting critical race theory. After one of those parents complained to the district about the “questionable” photo, Whitfield was ordered to remove it.
The photo was posted as a way to celebrate that he had been named principal of Colleyville Heritage Middle School two years ago. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to open the champagne. He got a call to check his email and that’s when the bubble burst.
The photo was taken by a professional photographer for their anniversary, but the words Whitfield saw connected to it left him speechless.
“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,” he told the news outlet.
His wife said she thinks this means that people thought a photo of a black man with a tattoo on his arm was inappropriate. However, Whitfield thinks people targeted him because he is in an interracial relationship.
The man was stressed about the accusations and just can’t take the photo incident off is mind.
“They said, 'Could you take it down? Can you take this picture down? Can you hide it?' and I asked, 'Why? What's wrong with the picture?' It was, 'Hey, I am trying to avoid any conflict.’”
“When a social media concern is brought to the attention of the district, we have a responsibility to review it. 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. As a new campus principal, we wanted to provide a smooth transition for Dr. Whitfield to Heritage Middle School, which is why we advised him of the concern and made a request for the photo to be taken down,” was the statement issued by Grapevine-Colleyville ISD about the incident.
Are all parents against him?
Not at all. Some of them found out about the whole incident after a social media post Whitfield wrote over the weekend. He discussed the pressure he’s under and the accusations that he’s constantly facing, coupled with the frustration he felt when he was asked to take down the photo.
The good news is that there are supportive parents at the school, too.
“I think it's sweet. He's a happily married man. They have a beautiful family. I chalk it up to educators being held to a different standard, unfortunately. I think it's silly, I can't see why a husband and wife can't have a picture of them in a sweet moment,” Sunni Roppollo, a parent, said.
A petition has also been started to support Whitfield and it’s already gathered hundreds of signatures. He shared he’s deeply grateful for the amazing support.
“I wish I had the conviction to say, 'No, I'm not going to take it down; that's a picture of me and my wife kissing on the beach; there's no reason for me to take this photo down.”