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School District Says Complaint Against Principal's Photo With His Wife Involved Several Other Poses

Principal says the district asked him to remove the photo and he worries race was a factor

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Officials at Grapevine-Colleyville ISD say a complaint involving Colleyville Heritage High School Principal James Whitfield involved more than just one photo.

Whitfield spoke to NBC 5 Monday, and posted on social media over the weekend, that his boss emailed him a photo, taken from his Facebook page of him and his wife embracing.

"I need you to check your email real quick, I sent you something," is the call Whitfield said he received.

The photo Whitfield showed NBC 5 is the one he recalls as being in the email sent to him.

NBC 5 asked the district Monday to send us a copy of all the emails from this time period between Whitfield and his bosses. They said they couldn't find any but did have the original complaint the district received about the photos from a parent.

The complaint had a collage of photos, including the one Whitfield sent Monday. But it showed several others from the same photoshoot, more than 10 years ago.

NBC 5 described the photo Whitfield provided to the district, and a district representative acknowledged she believed we were looking at the same photo. However, the additional ones provided more context.

"Some of the photos the district received contained poses that are questionable for an educator, especially a principal or administrator," the district said in a statement. "It had absolutely nothing to do with race."

Whitfield said he thought race was why the district was sent the photo to begin with. He pointed to a small group of parents who have asked the district to get rid of him, for reasons related to race, including an optional workshop for teachers on "anti-racism."

Some of Whitfield's critics even said online he was attacked because of his beliefs on race.

"This person is looking at me and saying, 'This is not the guy I want in that position,' 'This is not the kind of guy leading our schools,' knowing he has no idea who I am," Whitfield said.

Whitfield said he wanted the district to find the email he talked about in his post online. He said he remembers one photo in the email he was sent. It was the photo he originally shared, not the collage. Although he added he still sees nothing wrong with the photos in that collage.

Whitfield said he's being judged for the wrong reasons.

Support for the principal remains high, with a petition gaining signatures asking the district to support Whitfield.

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