Grapevine Colleyville ISD

Grapevine-Colleyville Community Debates Race, High School Principal

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A heated debate over the future employment of a high school principal continued Monday night in Colleyville.

Colleyville Heritage High School Principal Dr. James Whitfield spoke only to NBC 5 News weeks ago when he said the district wasn't doing enough to dispel rumors that he was teaching critical race theory.

On Monday, he, his students, and his critics all faced off at a board meeting.

"Instead of seeking out teachers to teach the quality we've been known for in the past, we've shifted our focus to hiring political activists to indoctrinate our students," one speaker said to the board.

After months of accusations, Whitfield took to social media and defended himself, but accused his district of not standing by his side and of empowering his critics when they asked him to take down 10-year-old photos of him and his wife embracing on the beach.

He attended the meeting on Monday and walked up to a cheering section of his students and some parents chanting their support.

"The last time I wasn't here, someone was allowed to speak my name in public against the rules and I think that's what really disparaged my name. The kids heard that, the community heard that," Whitfield said. "That group of people got the attention, so the students, the community, they said, 'Let's show up. Let's let our voice be heard.'"

Students packed the parking lot, demanding the district openly support Whitfield.

"It broke my heart to see he was dealing with all this stuff, even though he's such a great principal," Colleyville Heritage High School senior Evelyn Griffith. "I just want them to stand up against the racism."

Unable to use the principal's name inside due to board rules, critics instead demanded the end of critical race theory. Whitfield has been accused by some of teaching a belief that white people are naturally racist. He and the district have denied teaching the theory.

"Teachers and principals should not be using their morals to be arbiters of what's right for my children," one of the speakers said.

NBC 5 approached several of Whitfield's critics for an interview tonight. They declined.

The board had nothing on its agenda Monday night dealing with the issue but cleared its slate to listen to everyone.

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