Principal Suggests Segregation To Make White Students Feel Comfortable

“We accept your apology, but you have to go," one community member said of the Florida principal who called upon teachers to segregate their students.

As race relations in the United States continue to intensify, a Florida principal is among the many educators who have found themselves in hot water for exhibiting racist behavior.

Christine Hoffman, principal of Campbell Park Elementary School in St. Petersburg, Florida, has been removed from her position after asking teachers to segregate black students from white students so that the Caucasian students could feel more comfortable, The Root reports.

Hoffman reportedly emailed her staff last week claiming that white students should be in the same class together. The school’s total population of 606 students includes just 49 who are white.

Very quickly after sending the message, Hoffman sent another correspondence apologizing for her poor judgment. However, her attempt at damage control failed. Parents began calling for her termination as soon as they learned of the original message.

During a meeting with parents on Monday, Hoffman was questioned about why she suggested separating students by race to which she replied that she wanted students to feel comfortable, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Parents then inquired about whether there had been bullying issues at school or if white parents had issued complaints about their children feeling uncomfortable; when Hoffman answered no to both questions, parents and community members continued to press her about what prompted her to suggest segregating the students. Alas, she offered no further explanation.

"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," said local community member Denise Ford. "The parents were not accepting of any excuse. We accept your apology, but you have to go."

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Hoffman has been assigned to the school district’s administrative offices and will be replaced at the school by an assistant principal, with the help of a member of the district’s Transformation Zone team.

"If white [parents] 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," said Ebony Johnson, a 37-year-old parent to a fifth-grader at Campbell Park.

Beyond the fact that there were no grounds for Hoffman to suggest separating students by race, the fact that she would even have the concern that white students may feel uncomfortable in a predominantly black school speaks to a much deeper, social problem which perpetuates the stereotype that black people are to be feared.  

While her removal from the school is a step in the right direction, Hoffman needs to be taken out of the education system entirely. 

Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters

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