Outrage After This Principal at a Predominantly Black School Emails Staff 'White Students Should Be in the Same Class'

A large, empty classroom, lit by morning light.

Outrage After This Principal at a Predominantly Black School Emails Staff 'White Students Should Be in the Same Class'

Christine Hoffman said she wanted the students to feel 'comfortable.'

Published April 26, 2017

(Photo: ABC Action News)

A principal at an elementary school in St. Petersburg, Florida, has been placed on leave while an “administrative review” is conducted to investigate a racially charged email she sent to the school staff. In preparation for the upcoming school year, Christine Hoffman emailed staff at Campbell Park Elementary—a predominantly Black school—to suggest they keep white students in their own class.

"White students should be in the same class," Hoffman wrote in the email with no additional context, reported Tampa Bay Times.

On Monday morning, Hoffman met with angry parents and community members to discuss the email she'd sent Friday. During the meeting, Hoffman was repeatedly asked why she wanted to keep the white students in the same class.

Hoffman told parents she wanted those students to feel comfortable. Parents then asked why she made no effort to make the Asian, Hispanic, or biracial children feel comfortable. When pressed, Hoffman made an abrupt exit to start the morning announcements.

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

Parents and community activists have relentlessly called for Hoffman to resign; however, the principal refused and answered: "I am the best thing that has happened to Campbell Park."

While the review is taking place, an assistant principal will fill Hoffman’s role. It has not been determined whether Hoffman will be transferred to another school.  

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: Gloda/Getty Images)

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