A Black high school principal from Texas was ordered by district administrators to remove a photo from Facebook that showed him kissing his white wife to avoid stirring up more controversy among parents who complained.
Colleyville Heritage High School Principal James Whitfield wrote a lengthy Facebook post on July 31 about the 2019 incident shortly after he had been promoted to the school’s highest position.
According to KXAS, Whitfield received an email from a school administrator containing the image of him kissing his wife Kerrie during their anniversary trip.
Through the Grapevine-Colleyville school district, the professionally shot photos were provided to PEOPLE and show the couple in an intimate pose on a bench. Whitfield said the photos were taken a decade ago during their 10-year-anniversary in Mexico.
“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,’” he told the news station.
“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,” said Whitfield, adding he believed that meant he was being criticized for being in an interracial relationship. “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.’”
Whitfield said on Facebook that the request he take the photos down stem from “bigoted” and “racist” attacks he’d been receiving from the public.
“I am not the CRT (Critical Race Theory) Boogeyman,” he said. “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.”
The school district told KXAS in a statement: “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 added: “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 photos to be taken down from Facebook.”
I don’t agree with how the school handled this, what are y’all thoughts?