The president of a private school’s Board of Trustees, who preaches about the importance of the school’s diversity, equity, and inclusion agenda, works for a real estate company run almost entirely by white men.
Jonathan Kass is the board president of Columbus Academy in Ohio and was responsible for finalizing the decision to deny re-enrollment to the children of two mothers who demanded transparency in their children’s alleged race-based curriculum.
Alongside Head of School Melissa Boocock, Kass ignited the school’s push for “anti-racism” and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives that parents claim mirror the teachings of critical race theory.
Kass also works as the President of Development at a real estate company, which was co-founded by his father and has virtually no diversity in its high-ranking workforce. Among the 30 employees listed on Continental Real Estate Company’s website, five are women, and one employee appears to be black.
The lack of diversity within Continental Real Estate Companies runs counter to Kass’s demands that Columbus Academy commit itself to hiring a more diverse team of educators to create an “equitable experience” for people of color.
In October 2020, Kass and Boocock released a “United Against Racism” letter that announced that the school would “stand in support of anti-racism” and claimed it was necessary for student success to hire more black educators and administrators.
The letter read:
We listened to students, faculty, parents and alumni about their school experiences. They expressed the urgent need for the school to make a stand in support of anti-racism, to keep doing the work and to advance our practice of caring for all members of our diverse school community …
Having a diverse team of teachers, leaders and staff strengthens the educational experience for all of our students and is critical to ensuring equitable experiences for students of color. Academy has engaged recruitment firms to help identify and hire faculty, staff and senior administrators. In the last four years, we have hired three administrative leaders of color. For the 2020-21 school year, we filled 19 positions for teachers and staff by September 2020; fully half of these employees are people of color and one-third are Black.
Kass’s wife, Melissa Reid Kass, has also been an outspoken activist. Reid Kass claimed on multiple occasions that Columbus — and Ohio writ large — suffers from a “white supremacy problem.”
In a Facebook post, Reid Kass expressed her disappointment that Airbnb opened its newest tech hub in Atlanta instead of Columbus. She blamed the problem on the lack of “diverse companies” in the state.
“Yet another reason Ohio needs to clean up its white supremacy problem,” Reid Kass said. “We can’t attract prosperous diverse companies to our state, unless we are a more welcoming place.”
When asked whether Continental Real Estate struggled with a “white supremacy problem,” Kass did not respond to The Daily Wire’s request for comment.
In June, Kass co-signed a letter delivered to two Ohio mothers, Andrea Gross and Amy Gonzalez, denying their children re-enrollment into Columbus Academy. Kass claimed that the duo “caused pain, even fear for physical safety among students, families, faculty, and staff” by speaking out about the school’s alleged race-based curriculum.
Kass repeatedly denied Gross and Gonzalez’s requests for increased transparency from the board and denied a town hall between the board and parents moderated by a third party.
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