When two families started battling what they saw as critical race theory and anti-conservative bias seeping into the teaching materials in their children’s private school, they knew there would be backlash. That was especially true after the movement got critical mass, with hundreds of parents, alumni and others being involved.
What they didn’t know is that it would extend to their children being expelled.
According to a Saturday Fox News report, parents Amy Gonzalez and Andrea Gross were informed by Columbus Academy in Gahanna, Ohio, that their children wouldn’t be allowed to enroll in the school next year because they breached their enrollment agreement, which required them to maintain a “positive and constructive working relationship” with the $30,000-a-year academy.
Instead, letters to the two mothers — who have three children total in the school — say they “pursued a course of action that has been anything but civil, respectful and faithful to the facts.”
“Instead,” the school added, “you have engaged in a campaign against Columbus Academy through a sustained, and increasingly inflammatory, series of false and misleading attacks on the School and its leadership.”
“Your actions caused pain, and even fear for physical safety, among students, families, faculty, and staff,” stated the letter from Columbus Academy Head of School Melissa Soderberg and Board of Trustees President Jonathan Kass.
When asked for comment, the school didn’t directly confirm the children had been expelled, although it issued a statement that was an implicit: “Yeah, and?”
“Columbus Academy does not comment on the circumstances of any student or family. However, any parent who waged a public campaign of false and misleading statements and inflammatory attacks harmful to the employees, the reputation, or the financial stability of Columbus Academy would be in clear violation of the Enrollment Agreement and would be denied re-enrollment for the following school year,” a school representative said in a statement, Fox reported.
Gonzalez and Gross, who organized the Pro-CA Coalition to fight the proposed woke changes that had been taking place at the school, lambasted Columbus Academy in a news release on Friday, saying they had received the letters on June 11 “with no prior warning.”
“We will continue to advocate for our children and community,” Gonzalez said in the statement.
“Expelling our innocent children is retaliatory and discriminatory. Is Columbus Academy leadership and our Board of Trustees dictating what we are to believe as parents in order for our children not to be expelled from school? I cannot look the other way when the school behaves poorly and neglects its obligations to our children and faculty. As parents, we are going to stand together to protect our children and individuals who are threatened or persecuted for speech.”
“The school’s retaliation will forever affect my innocent children,” Gross said.
“We love Columbus Academy, the teachers, and the community so we decided to effectuate change from the inside. This is a clear message from the school to silence us and to intimidate and frighten the hundreds of other members in our Coalition.”
In an interview that appears on the Fox News website, Gonzalez and Gross again criticized the decision.
“This is an educational institution which has chosen to punish children for their parents asking questions — I mean, the damage this does to the community, I mean, our children, obviously,” Gonzalez said.
“It’s ripping our community apart,” Gross added.
According to The Daily Caller, the Pro-CA Coalition came about after a “civil disobedience walkout” in January; they say the director of diversity and the head of grades 9-12, told students to march to the field house while screaming “silence is violence” on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Leaving aside the fact that for children to do exactly as their leftist elders tell them is anything but disobedient, Gonzalez and Gross said the students were made to shout “Malcolm X,” “black empowerment” and “you are racist” during the event.
The mothers said that when they asked for answers from the school, they didn’t get anything meaningful. That’s when they started getting sworn affidavits from parents and teachers regarding a hostile teaching environment at Columbus Academy.
In a video Gonzalez and Gross posted to YouTube on May 25, they showed off what appear to be some of their children’s assignments in school, some of which include racially divisive concepts — including critical race theory, the controversial academic concept that claims the United States was founded on “systemic racism” and its structures must be criticized from that vantage point.
In one assignment that’s purported to be from the Columbus Academy, students are asked to listen to a podcast called “Side Effects of White Women” — which appears to be an episode of “Small Doses with Amanda Seales.”
“This is an episode that may touch some nerves but is about elevation. In a world where it seems like daily, many white women are exercising their privilege in potentially harmful ways to others it’s time to have a real convo about the past, present, and what needs to happen to change the future,” reads the description of the episode at Apple Podcasts.
In another screenshot of an assignment sheet, students are being asked to read Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility” — the tome about how white people are racist but are also sensitive around areas of race. So if you’re white and you admit you’re a racist, at least you acknowledge that. If you’re white and you can’t admit you’re racist, it’s even worse. The whiteness studies tome became “Critical Race Theory for Dummies” in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death last year.
Gonzalez and Gross also alleged the school’s director of diversity and community life said “what we are dealing with is 110 years of white supremacy” regarding Columbus Academy. This was taken from a sworn affidavit regarding a Zoom call. The same director also purportedly said the school’s sports team name, the Vikings, should be changed because Vikings “were white and raped and pillaged.”
The Pro-CA Coalition also sent the school a letter that said faculty members had been given material from critical race theorist Ibram X. Kendi as part of their training. At the time, they told The Daily Caller, they’d collected between 70 and 100 signed statements regarding incidents of political and racial bias at the school and that the “group has grown to hundreds of parents, alumni, teachers, and students.”
However, in its letter to Gonzalez and Gross, the school accused them of scheming to withhold tuition from Columbus Academy in order to force a change.
“You have taken steps to explore how you, and with your encouragement, others, could withhold tuition payments and place them in escrow until your demands are met. You have also discussed pursuing charitable entity status for your organization, in the stated hope of persuading Columbus Academy donors to re-direct their contributions to your organization where you could use the funds as leverage to pursue your agenda,” the letter read.
As for placing the funds in escrow, the school could have been referring to a podcast on which Gross said putting them in an escrow “was a good idea” when a host floated it, according to Fox. In terms of redirecting the donations, a parent told Fox News via email, “The idea of withholding further donations to the school was posed as a question, and was asked what the groups thoughts were regarding the idea.”
There doesn’t seem to have been evidence that either one of these were serious ideas or as dastardly as the school alleges, and one imagines that neither is the truly great crime they’ve really committed in the school’s eyes.
What really matters is that they questioned “anti-racist” orthodoxy — and one guesses school officials don’t want other parents doing that, because they’ve seen what’s happening across the country. They don’t want it interfering with the world of Columbus Academy.
Whatever the case, the main victims here are the children. Parents are being told that if they don’t shut up, their kids will be next. It may be heinous, but don’t think other schools aren’t watching — and don’t think they won’t copy this strategy if it shuts the Pro-CA Coalition up.
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