I decided to share this story for two reasons.
First: it’s important to apologize to our children when we’re wrong.
Second: should I ever show up missing and/or dead, you know where to look.
Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but…you know…just in case.
It was the first day of school, and I was waiting outside the classroom with my four-year-old twins. They were excited. I was excited to have three hours to myself (well, me and my baby). The door opened, and my kids ran in without looking back. The mom standing next to me didn’t have it quite so easy. Her son clung to her leg, crying. He didn’t want to leave. This went on for the next few weeks. My kids ran in with the other children while this little boy cried. His crying didn’t strike me as odd at the time. These are four/five-year-old children after all.
After a few weeks, I learned the mom’s name was C, and her little boy’s name was JJ (obviously I’m not using their real names). C and I planned playdates with another mom from preschool. My son, Ryder, is/was a happy child and eager to make friends. When the three of us got together, Ryder and Emma (my twins) would play with the other little boy, but JJ often sat near his mother.
Fast forward to the Valentine’s Day performance. Emma was a pig and Ryder was a spider. I posted this picture of them on Instagram.
Shortly after, C got on Facebook and posted the following:
Pisses me off that I’m seeing pictures of JJ’s valentine’s day performance with his dumb a– teacher and JJ’s bully.
What in the what?
I was so confused. JJ wasn’t at the performance, but I assumed he was sick as there were a few kids out with a stomach bug. I text C and asked what was going on.
She didn’t respond and my heart sank. Was my kid the bully? Surely if he was, C would have told me.
I texted her again: if it was one of my kids I would hope you would tell me.
Her response: It’s Ryder, but I didn’t want to tell you because I didn’t want to ruin our friendship.
Okay, don’t tell me, but post it on Facebook? This is where the creepy psychological thriller stalker type crap comes into play.
But before the creepiness started…
I asked Ryder if he had ever hurt, said mean things, or done anything to JJ. He stared at me with his big brown eyes, completely confused, and said he hadn’t.
But I didn’t believe him. He must have done something, right? I pressed, and pressed, and pressed, and pressed until I convinced Ryder that he might have done something. Again, he was so confused but assumed that he must be in the wrong. Emma told me that JJ mostly sits with the teacher and they don’t ever play, talk, or go near him.
I was livid that the preschool had not told me about the bullying. First thing Tuesday morning, I drove over there (Monday was a holiday). I went straight to the principle and the teacher. I showed them the Facebook post from C, and asked why they hadn’t said anything to me.
The teacher’s response: We didn’t tell you because it didn’t happen.
Long story short, C had gone to them at the beginning of the year and said the reason JJ didn’t like going to school was that Ryder was hitting him. HITTING him. The teacher said she was floored by this accusation because JJ never played with anyone. He sat in the corner crying, wanting to go home, and he had done that since day one–before he even met Ryder. But she took the threat seriously and had the teacher’s aide stay with JJ the entire time, not ever leaving his side.
The next day, C was in the office throwing a fit because Ryder had hit JJ repeatedly again. The aide said she had been with JJ the entire day and had not seen anything–as a matter of face, Ryder wasn’t even at school. He was out the entire week sick. But C was insistent. She wanted Ryder to be kicked out of school. They said they couldn’t do that. This went on for weeks without my knowledge. C said Ryder had hit JJ repeatedly on the head with a block. The teacher said the aide never left JJ’s side. C called the school a liar. The school continued to keep an aide wtih JJ the entire time, even at recess.
C’s husband works/ed (praying it’s past tense) for the Simi Valley Police Department as an officer. He sent a letter on Simi Valley PD Letterhead telling the preschool that they had to kick Ryder out of school and threatened them with all kinds of absurd legal action (can the police do that?). When the school didn’t comply, C and her husband pulled JJ out, and she began posting on Facebook (which is how I found out).
After I got the information from the school, I sent a text to C and said the preschool had a different story. I asked if she would be willing to meet and we could discuss what happened.
C called me all the names in the book and called Ryder an a–hole and a littel sh–. Then she got on Facebook and called Ryder an F– a–hole, that he should go to jail, and they would be sure they got revenge. REVENGE. Then the father threatened to arrest me and Ryder, and we got a letter from the Simi Valley Police Department signed by him. Telling us that our son was a bully and he should not attend school any longer. My son was four years old. Still not sure the Simi Valley Police Department is aware thier officer is freely using their letterhead, or maybe police officers are allowed to threatened on letterhead (though I seriously doubt it).
C got online and left nasty Yelp reviews for my husband’s dental practices. They drove by our house, they told us to watch our backs, they thought because the dad was a police officer we should be scared.
I posted this story to a local mom’s support group. A mother private messaged me and asked if the mom I was referring to was C. I said yes, and she said C has a history of doing this. Moving from preschool to preschool, accusing children of bullying her poor son. And the father comes in with police badge. Abuse of power much?
I had two choices– I could ignore this behavior, or I could fan the flame.
Every ounce of my being wanted to fan the flame. I wanted to dedicate my time and energy to shut these people down.
But here’s what I’ve learned during my time/and research as a murder mystery author–you can’t reason with people hell-bent on being crazy. Pissing these people off more would only cause them to go after my family. I blocked her on Facebook, reported the review to Yelp, and I gave them zero reaction. Ryder stayed in school (even received the citizenship award, and has never had a complaint from his teachers).
Soon the harassment stopped, and we ended up moving (not because of this). Anti-climate, sure. If this were a work of fiction, the MC (me) would have received justice. I would have started at the police station, filing a report…but don’t police officers have each other’s backs? Would that put a target on mine? I would have replied to her social media attacks. I would have found a lawyer. People would get run off the road, houses vandalized, twists and turns until the final scene: a brawl on the playground. But this isn’t a cozy mystery. This is my real life. And I’m like 99.9% sure C could take me in a fist fight.
Anyway…should I go missing…
New Mystery Series Coming This May!