The principal at Campbell Park Elementary School has requested to transfer out of her job and into a role inside the school district headquarters because she says her actions "are a distraction to the school and learning atmosphere."
Community members in St Petersburg are calling on the Pinellas County School District to fire Christine Hoffman for "racially insensitive comments."
A handful of community members stood outside Campbell Park Elementary School Monday with signs stating “Principal Hoffman Must Go” and “End Racism in our schools”.
Principal Christine Hoffman held two parent meetings Monday to explain her actions.
Following the meeting, Principal Christine Hoffman asked to be transferred because of the "distraction she has caused to the school." She will be working in the district offices, pending an investigation into why she made "racially insensitive" comments. The vice principal will step up in the meantime.
Hoffman has come under fire since she emailed her staff at Campbell Park Elementary last Tuesday instructions for next year’s classroom rosters.
Among the instructions, she wrote: ”white students should be in the same class."
Campbell Park has 606 students, 49 of them are white, 20 are Hispanic students, 18 are multiracial and 3 are Asian.
Hoffman told parents she made the comment in an effort to "make students feel more comfortable." Parents pressed the principal why she didn't make the same rules for students of other races. Hoffman emailed her staff last week apologizing for her "poor judgment."
She sent another letter to families explaining, "As a white woman leading a predominantly black school, I am approaching this as an opportunity to learn. This recent incident makes it clear that I need to seek additional opportunities to apply racial sensitivity and cultural competence in my work. The guidelines included a statement on assigning white students together, and I explained in the meeting that I was asking that there not be a class with only one white student. I was not asking that all white students in each grade be clustered, as that is not our practice in creating class lists. I understand how racially insensitive the guideline was."
The Pinellas County School District says they are developing a corrective action plan and community members are calling for them to take it one step further and fire Hoffman.
Parents said Hoffman seemed unapologetic in Monday morning’s meeting, saying she stopped the meeting early to read the school announcements. They said she did not directly answer their questions and told parents she was "the best thing to happen to Campbell Park", according to Tammie Jenkins, a community member who attended the meeting.
Jenkins, who doesn’t have students at the school but attended the meeting as a passionate community member added, “It seems an awful lot like segregation. I thought we were past this.”
David Jackson still hopes Hoffman leaves the district all together, “She’s wrong. She’s got to go.”
Delphine Abrams, whose grandson attends the school agrees, “We have come too far as a community and as a nation to go backwards.”