UPDATE: Colleyville Heritage High Principal James Whitfield Placed On Paid Administrative Leave Amid Controversy

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Dozens of students and parents rallied outside Grapevine-Colleyville ISD’s school board meeting Monday night, August 23, to show support for Colleyville Heritage High School Principal James Whitfield, who they believe is being unfairly treated and targeted because of his skin color.

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“I don’t think it’s an unnatural reaction to see the way our principal is being treated and not get mad, you know?” Colleyville Heritage High School Senior Grace Nguyen said.

She said the group is distraught over comments made by former school board candidate, Stetson Clark, at last month’s school board meeting.

“Tonight, I would like to express my concerns not only of myself, but of many in our community about the implementation of critical race theory in our district,” Clark said at the July 26th meeting. “Specifically, the views and goals of the principal of Colleyville Heritage High School, James Whitfield.”

“Absolutely not true,” Colleyville Heritage High School Senior Sunehra Chowdhury said. “It is absolutely not true.”

“The smoking gun is that he talked to another educator about anti-racism,” Grapevine-Colleyville ISD Parent Mike Sexton said. “He wants anti-racism involved in teaching.”

Whitfield said the claims untrue and the attacks have been coming for months.

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“I’m just kind of appalled by it,” he said. “That’s something that should have never happened in public in public forum. You shouldn’t be able to name an employee like that. You have to go through a certain process. I was just kind of taken aback. The calls for my termination.. people in the gallery yelling fire him.”

School Board President Jorge Rodriguez has released a statement which in part, says — “I regret what happened at the July 26 meeting. In GCISD, we value all of our employees and I do not condone the misuse of open forum for the airing of personal grievances.”

Most spoke in support of Whitfield at the meeting, but there was some opposition.

“Instead of seeking out quality teachers to educate our children and provide the quality education we have been known for in the past, we have shifted our focus to hiring political activists Who indoctrinate our students,” one woman said.

“To me this is not a political matter it’s a matter of being a decent human being,” another said.

“I’m just so proud of them,” Whitfield said. “Their love and encouragement and support in the face of everything has been what has been so sustaining for me and my family. I’m so grateful for them.”

Some students and parents believe Whit has been targeted since he was hired in 2019 and asked by the district to remove 10-year-old Facebook photos that show him and his wife intimately embracing at the beach.

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The school district said some of the poses in the photos are questionable for an educator, especially a principal or administrator. It had nothing to do with race.

Erin Jones