Principal to be transferred after email about students' race

- A Pinellas County elementary school teacher who came under fire after sending out a racially insensitive letter to staff has been removed from her school, but she's not out of a job.

A district spokesperson said Christine Hoffman asked to be transferred out of Campbell Park Elementary School Monday, and the superintendent agreed to do so.

"In reflecting on the situation as a whole Ms. Hoffman came to the realization that she was becoming a distraction for the students and staff here at Campbell Park Elementary," said Lisa Wolf, a spokesperson for Pinellas County Schools.

In the letter, which was regarding directions for class placement for the next school year, Hoffman wrote that "white students should be in the same class."

Campbell Park's student population is at least 80 percent black.

PREVIOUS: Principal's email asks teachers to put white students in same class

After the letter became public, parents called for her resignation. Hoffman sent another letter out Friday in an attempt to clarify herself. In that one she admitted she had used poor judgment and explained she "was asking that there not be a class with only one white student."

Monday morning, Hoffman met with parents to try to further explain her comment but several parents came away feeling just as frustrated as they were going into the meeting.

"I do accept Mrs. Hoffman's apology, as an adult. But as a parent, I don't respect it," Laketta Davis told FOX 13. "I consider her to be a business professional. I think that she's had enough training to be culturally aware and sensitive to this issue and I think that she's not in a position anymore to lead our students."

"My child is [racially] mixed; my niece is mixed," added Lynett Rowell. "Where would they go? [Do] you send them to the black side with the other black kids? Or the white side?"

Hoffman had initially planned a second meeting with parents after school. Instead, parents arriving for that meeting were met by district representatives who informed them of Hoffman's transfer. She will be reassigned to the district offices.

By then, a few protestors had gathered outside the school, including Velma Newmon, whose grandchildren will attend Campbell Park.

"She needs to understand that segregation should not exist in our schools," said Newmon. "She needs to understand that all races should learn equally and it's sad that they're only reassigning her. You're just going to put a Band-Aid on the problem."

Maria Scruggs, the president of the St. Petersburg chapter of the NAACP, said the situation felt like she was "back to the Jim Crow days."

"This is systemic because she didn't think twice about putting it in writing," Scruggs said. "She didn't think twice about disseminating it [to staff]."

Wolf said the district will make a determination about what to do next after it finishes investigating the situation.

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