Florida principal under fire for allegedly telling teachers to put white students in same class

A Florida principal faces accusations of racial discrimination after allegedly emailing her staff instructions mandating that "white students should be in the same class."

Campbell Park Elementary School Principal Christine Hoffman sent her staff a set of guidelines to adhere to when creating the classroom rosters for the coming school year.

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Among Hoffman's requirements: the same number of girls and boys in a class, a maximum of two students with a record of misbehaving per class and "white students should be in the same class."

The same email sent Tuesday made its way to Maria Scruggs, the president of the local chapter of the NAACP in St. Petersburg.

"I'm not usually at a loss for words, but I can tell you when I saw that email for the first time, I thought it was a joke," Scruggs told Tampa Bay Times Friday.

Hoffman was promoted to principal this year after serving as assistant principal at Campbell Park, a majority black school that reportedly has a "history of poor performance" in a district facing lawsuits for discrimination against black students.

In her email, Hoffman did not provide an explanation for why she wanted white students to be assigned to the same class, neither did she provide similar guidelines for the other Hispanic, Asian and multiracial students in any context.

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Hoffman followed up with staff in another email Thursday, in which she apologized for her "poor judgment." She also penned a regretful letter sent home to students' families Friday.

"As a white woman leading a predominantly black school," she wrote to parents, "I am approaching this as an opportunity to learn."

Hoffman's mandate may violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which forbids learning institutions segregating students on the basis of race.

The Tampa Bay Times reports Hoffman is undergoing an "administrative review" by county school officials and was scheduled to "leave campus" effective immediately.

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