With the inception of the Trump administration and all the changes it has abruptly brought to the American people, it should come as no surprise that his strange attitude and vitriolic nature have started to work their way down the ladder to individuals who feel that they can now get away with things that once would have gotten them fired or worse. All over the nation, people are using the rhetoric spewed by Trump and his team as justification for their horrible, often racist behavior. One such example has recently occurred in Florida at Campbell Park Elementary School in St. Petersburg.
The principal of Campbell Park, Christine Hoffman, was recently removed from the school after she made a request to her teaching staff that came as a slap in the face for many of them. Hoffman asked that teachers in the school segregate their classes by race so that the white students would feel more comfortable. She apparently specifically asked that the white students be separated from the black students.
The incident started just last week when Hoffman sent out an email to the teaching staff that asked for all white students in the school to be transferred to a single class. Every white student in the school was between the ages of 5 and 10, so they weren’t in the same grade, meaning that putting them in the same class would be highly inhibiting to their education. There are a total of 606 students at Campbell Park Elementary, and 49 of those students are white. Almost immediately after sending the email to her staff, Hoffman sent a second email recanting the request and apologizing for the horrible judgement she displayed, but the damage had been done. Some teachers who disagreed with Hoffman forwarded the email to parents, and those parents quickly requested that Hoffman be fired from her position.
Two of the parents who were openly vocal about the clear issue of racism were Ebony Johnson and Denise Ford. Ford is 53 years old and has been active in the community for quite some time, and Johnson is 37 years old with a fifth-grade student enrolled at Campbell Park. Ford asked if there were any particular reasons to justify separating the white students, like white parents coming forward to complain or any bullying issues. Hoffman said those issues were not the problem, which leaves some to wonder what could have prompted the decision in the first place. Johnson wanted to know why Hoffman only made an effort to ensure the white students were ‘comfortable’.
Ford went on to say that black students are typically the minority in most schools, and that in many cases a black student might be only one in a class. No one made any efforts to guarantee the comfort of those black students, so why is it that the white students in this school deserve special treatment? The parents did not accept any excuse for the decision from Hoffman, and while they did accept her apology in the matter, they refused to accept her continued service within the position of principal at the school.
Johnson said that Campbell Park was known to be a lower-quality school, but that didn’t stop those white parents from sending their children there to learn. She said that if the white parents had wanted their kids to go somewhere else, they would have sent them. It is not the place of Hoffman to decide that those students should be separated from the rest of the population. Hoffman was not immediately fired for the situation, but she is now working for the administrative offices of the school district.