An Ohio private school has expelled three students whose moms led a coalition campaigning against Critical Race Theory being taught to their children.
Columbus Academy sent a letter to parents Andrea Gross and Amy Gonzalez informing them that their children will not be reenrolled at the school, where tuition fees cost up to $30,000 a year.
The school said Gross and Gonzalez leveled ‘false and misleading attacks’ on the school and its leadership through their ‘inflammatory’ campaign, including making claims that students were being subjected to bomb sniffing dogs on campus.
Their actions amounted to a breach of their contract with the institution in which both parties promise to nurture a ‘positive and constructive working relationship’.
Gross had two children enrolled in the school while Gonzalez had one, with the two moms slamming the school for punishing their children for the activism of their parents.
Andrea Gross (left) and Amy Gonzalez (right) were told their children will not be reenrolled at Columbus Academy, where tuition fees cost up to $30,000 a year
Columbus Academy pictured. The Ohio private school expelled three students whose moms led a coalition campaigning against Critical Race Theory being taught to their children
In the letter sent to the parents, seen by Fox News, CA Head of School Melissa Soderberg and Board of Trustees President Jonathan Kass said Gross and Gonzalez had caused ‘pain, and even fear for physical safety, among students, families, faculty, and staff.’
The parents ‘pursued a course of action that has been anything but civil, respectful and faithful to the facts.’
‘Instead 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,’ reads the letter.
‘Your actions caused pain, and even fear for physical safety, among students, families, faculty, and staff.’
The letter also says the two moms pushed ‘false’ claims that bomb sniffing dogs were patroling the school and used a ‘sham’ video as part of their campaign.
‘Among other things, no bomb sniffing dogs were brought to campus – the Gahanna Police Department does not even have dogs, bomb sniffing or otherwise – and there were never police cars with flashing lights,’ the letter reads.
The letter claims the two mothers plotted how they and other parents could withhold paying their children’s tuition to the school ‘until your demands are met.’
‘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,’ it reads.
Columbus Academy pictured displaying a banner that says it ‘Stands Against Racism’
‘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 two moms founded the Pro-CA Coalition back in January, campaigning against what they say is ‘political extremism and a culture of fear and administration’ at Columbus Academy.
As part of the campaign they say they have collected sworn testaments from other parents accusing the school of pushing progressive ideas about race on students and discriminating against conservative thinking.
Around 400 other parents of Columbus Academy students are said to have joined the campaign.
Gross and Gonzalez blasted the decision to deny their ‘innocent’ children’s reenrolment as ‘retaliation’ against them for spearheading the campaign against the school.
They accused the school’s leadership of trying to silence them and ‘intimidate’ other parents who speak out.
‘The school’s retaliation will forever affect my innocent children,’ Gross said in a statement, per PRNewswire.
Some of the curriculum and school teachings that the parents took issue with pictured above. Gross and Gonzalez founded the Pro-CA Coalition, campaigning against what they say is ‘political extremism and a culture of fear and administration’ at the school
CRITICAL RACE THEORY: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
The fight over critical race theory in schools has escalated in the United States over the last year.
The theory has sparked a fierce nationwide debate in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests around the country over the last year and the introduction of the 1619 Project.
The 1619 Project, which was published by the New York Times in 2019 to mark 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived on American shores, reframes American history by ‘placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the center of the US narrative’.
The debate surrounding critical race theory regards concerns that some children are being indoctrinated into thinking that white people are inherently racist or sexist.
Those against critical race theory have argued it reduces people to the categories of ‘privileged’ or ‘oppressed’ based on their skin color.
Supporters, however, say the theory is vital to eliminating racism because it examines the ways in which race influence American politics, culture and the law.
‘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.’
Gonzalez called the move ‘retaliatory and discriminatory’.
‘As parents, we are going to stand together to protect our children and individuals who are threatened or persecuted for speech,’ she said.
They also pushed back on the school’s claims that there were no bomb sniffing dogs on the grounds telling Fox they have several sworn affidavits testifying to incidents at the school, including some in relation to this.
A Columbus spokesperson defended the decision telling Fox that waging a public campaign of ‘inflammatory attacks’ if a violation of the school’s enrollment agreement.
‘Columbus Academy does not comment on the circumstances of any student or family,’ the spokeperson said.
‘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.’
The school did not provide examples of such ‘attacks’ or ‘false or misleading statements’ and the two moms denied attempting to withhold payments to the school.
However, during a Blunt Force Truth podcast interview in April, Gross and Gonzalez discussed the possibility of withholding funds.
They also spoke of it being ‘easier to go for an individual than an institution’.
The school said Gross and Gonzalez leveled ‘false and misleading attacks’ on the school and its leadership through their ‘inflammatory’ campaign
‘It’s harder to make an institution hurt as opposed to an individual,’ said Gonzalez.
The topic of withholding tuition payments was also brought up in a May Zoom call, the moms told Fox, but insisted they did not follow through with any such plan.
Gross and Gonzalez are just some of the parents who have gone to war with elite private schools across the US over the teaching of Critical Race Theory.
Critical Race Theory highlights how historical inequities and racism continue to shape public policy and social conditions today.
It has become a key focus on the curriculum of schools over the last year amid the nationwide reckoning for racial justice following the murder of George Floyd.
But it has starkly divided opinion.
Conservatives allege that students are being taught a warped version of American history that claims the impact of slavery remains present throughout society.
Critics say the teachings reduce people to ‘privileged’ or ‘oppressed’ based on skin color.
But supporters say it is vital to understand how race impacts society in order to eliminate racism.