Christine Hoffman, principal at St. Petersburg, Fla.’s Campbell Park Elementary School, was removed from her school after asking teachers to segregate white students from the black students so the white students could feel comfortable, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Last week, Hoffman emailed her staff stating that white students, who are all between 5 and 10 years old, should be in the same class. Campbell Park Elementary’s student population includes 606 students, and 49 are white. After sending out the email, Hoffman sent another one apologizing for her bad judgment, but it was too late. Once parents got wind of the email, they requested her firing.
People who questioned Hoffman’s motives about the decision included Denise Ford, a 53-year-old community member, and Ebony Johnson, a 37-year-old mother to a fifth-grader at Campbell Park.
Ford wanted to know if there was an ongoing bullying issue at the school or if white parents said they were uncomfortable. But, of course, Hoffman said neither of those issues existed. Both women also wanted to know why Hoffman didn’t make an effort to make students of other backgrounds feel “comfortable.”
“The parents said that as black people, we are used to being the only black person in the classroom, and no one is making sure we are comfortable,” Ford said. “The parents were not accepting of any excuse. We accept your apology, but you have to go.”
“You have so many Caucasian white parents who knew of this school being a low-graded school,” Johnson said. “If white students wanted their children to attend another school, they would’ve placed them there. They did not. So who is Mrs. Hoffman to decide to separate the whites from the blacks?”
Hoffman is now working at the school district’s administrative offices until district officials decide what to do with her next. Hopefully, parents feel more comfortable with Hoffman out of the school.