James Whitfield made news when he agreed to resign from his position as the first African American principal of Colleyville High School in Texas after being accused of teaching Critical Race Theory. And we all cried foul, knowing that “agreed to resign” is just a nice way of saying he was fired for being “too woke.” Now a new school board member is confirming our suspicions, saying Whitfield was let go for his activism, calling it the “straw that broke the camel’s back ... that got him fired.”
The accusations of activism came in response to an open letter Whitfield wrote in 2020, describing his grief after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and asking the community to work together to achieve “conciliation for our nation.” Although the feedback was mostly positive at the time, his words were used against him during a July 2021 school board meeting. That’s when Stetson Clark, a former school board candidate, cited the letter as an example of Whitfield pushing Critical Race Theory, every Republican’s worst nightmare in the school.
Now, two years later, they still can’t let it go. Even though she wasn’t a member of the school board during the time of the incident, Tammy Nakamura had a lot to say about Mr. Whitfield at a June 2022 school board panel discussion, which just so happened to be sponsored by the Republican National Committee.
A clip of Ms. Nakamura’s comments posted on the Facebook group, Colleyville Citizens for Accountability on July 8. She says Whitfield brought unwanted attention to the school district for being married to a white woman. But his letter, she says was what pushed everyone over the edge. “We found out that he’s a total activist, and of course, we were branded and put on national television just like Southlake,” she says in the clip.
But not everyone is critical of Whitfield. Some members of the community are applauding his efforts to support the students during a difficult time for the country. “First, Tammy Harris Nakamura, your story is incoherent so it’s hard to follow your misguided claims,” Amyn Gilani posted in the Colleyville Citizens for Accountability Facebook group. “Second, Dr. James Whitfield was targeted because he addressed the murder of George Floyd, and he made himself available to support all students who have questions and thoughts about inequality and injustice. James is an asset to our community, not poison.”
James Whitfield is on paid administrative leave until August 15, 2023. At that time, his resignation will take effect.