Just when we thought Florida could not get any more racist, an elementary school principal wants to leap back in time and restart segregation.
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, reported The Tampa Bay Times.
Last week, Hoffman emailed her staff saying that all the white students, who are all between 5 and 10 years old, should be in the same class. Campbell Park Elementary has 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 knew about it, they wanted her and her racist ways out of the educational system.
Parents and community activists have been calling for Hoffman to resign. Pressed by parents to do so Monday, two eyewittnesses said that Hoffman refused and said “I am the best thing that has happened to Campbell Park.”
Two people who questioned Hoffman’s motives about her pro-segregation ideology were Denise Ford, a 53-year-old community member, and Ebony Johnson, a 37-year-old mother to a fifth-grader at Campbell Park.
Ford asked if there was an ongoing bullying issue at the school or if white parents said they were uncomfortable. But Hoffman said neither of those issues existed, she just wanted the kids to be comfortable. Both women also wanted to know why Hoffman, beyond suggesting segregation, 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 how to handle the situation. Hoffman has requested a transfer off campus and will not return to the non-segregated school.
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)