A school principal has come under fire over a "questionable" photo he posted of himself and his wife.
James Whitfield said the issue first arose in 2019 when he was asked to remove an anniversary photo of the couple from social media.
The Colleyville Heritage High School head said the snap was professionally shot by a photographer, but the district wouldn't explain why they wanted it taken down.
The request came after he had just been named as the head of the connected middle school two years ago.
Whitfield said it was meant to be a time for celebration for himself and his family.
However, before he could open a bottle of bubbly, his boss called and urged him to check his email.
When he looked online and saw a photo of him and his wife on the beach, which was part of a professional photoshoot.
A series of pictures were uploaded, including one of his wife laying on the sand and Whitfield snuggling up to her.
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"I look at the picture, and I look at the words above it, and it says, 'Is this the Dr. Whitfield we want leading our schools?' I showed it to my wife, who immediately begins to well up with tears," he said.
Other pictures include the pair playfully enjoying a piggyback ride on the beach, NBC reports.
His wife Kerrie said she thought the issue surrounded Whitfield being a black man with a tattoo on his arm, but her husband believes the issue stems from the couple being in an interracial relationship.
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The headteacher has also been accused online and in board meetings of teaching critical race theory and promoting a belief that white people are inherently racist, but he and the district have vehemently denied this.
After the incident, Whitfield couldn't shake the reaction online and the district's decision that the photo was inappropriate.
"They said, 'Could you take it down? Can you take this picture down? Can you hide it?' and I asked, 'Why? What's wrong with the picture?' It was, 'Hey, I am trying to avoid any conflict."
Grapevine-Colleyville ISD issued the following statement: "When a social media concern is brought to the attention of the district, we have a responsibility to review it.
"Some of the photos the district received contained poses that are questionable for an educator, especially a principal or administrator. It had absolutely nothing to do with race.
"As a new campus principal, we wanted to provide a smooth transition for Dr. Whitfield to Heritage Middle School, which is why we advised him of the concern and made a request for the photos to be taken down from Facebook."
A petition in support of Whitfield has hundreds of signatures, and he said he's humbled for the support he's received and regrets he held this in for so long.
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