The principal of Colleyville Heritage High School in the Fort Worth area has agreed to part ways with the District following months of controversy over Critical Race Theory (CRT).
Dr. James Whitfield had been employed by the school district since 2018, serving as principal since last year, and was the first black principal in the school’s 25-year history.
The Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District board of trustees voted to terminate his contract on Monday, effective August 2023. He will remain on paid administrative leave until the termination takes effect when his contract is due to end.
The school district and Whitfield released a joint statement to announce his termination.
“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. “The District and Dr. Whitfield have mutually agreed to resolve their disputes.”
Whitfield had been suspended from his administrative position since September following months of complaints by parents to the local school board who say he promoted CRT and indoctrinated students.
The controversy began at a July 26 school board meeting when Stetson Clark, a former school board candidate, accused Whitfield of implementing the teaching of CRT and holding extreme views on race.
“Because of his extreme views, I ask that a full review of Mr. Whitfield’s tenure in our district be examined and that his contract be terminated effective immediately,” Clark said in the meeting.
CRT is a decades-old field of study that examines the intersection of racial inequality and law in the United States. Anti-CRT advocates say the field of study is un-American. They believe it makes white students feel collective “guilt,” and black students see themselves as helpless “victims.”
Whitfield denied that he promoted CRT at the school and believes he was targeted due to his race.
He wrote in a Facebook post just days after the July school board meeting.
“I am not the CRT 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.”
“There’s no credence to the CRT claims,” he also told The Washington Post in September. “This group that has spoken out against me has a problem with inclusivity, with embracing diversity, and with providing equitable experiences for all students.”
The school district stated that suspending and terminating Whitfield did not result from the parents’ complaints against him. Whitfield was also accused of being uncooperative with an internal investigation into the school’s teaching of critical race theory.
In late August, more than two dozen students walked out of school in support of Whitfield. They were joined by a dozen parents and gathered outside the high school holding signs that said “I stand with Dr. Whitfield” and “Hate has no home in school.”