|Missing signs, mangled brackets found in nearby trash can|
At this point, it all becomes a blur to me. I filmed the whole incident but looking back at the video, the whole thing seems surreal, like it happened to someone else. My wife yells to me that he is a CWC parent. I get video of the guys face, car and licence plate number. He takes a picture of me. He asks me to stop filming and asked who I was. "I'm A--- Benitez." I respond. He says "Oh, so you're A--- Benitez." I paused. Then with all the grace and elegance I could muster, I bowed and said "Yes, I am the A--- Benitez."
My wife yelled "He's got CWC signs in his car." Then, I noticed a couple of the neighborhoods' lawn signs in his car. I start yelling, asking him, "You're the one stealing the signs?" He said the wind blew them off (mm yeah, and I guess right into his car.) He took the two signs out the car and tried to give them to me, but I refused to even touch them.
I don't recall, but my wife said his daughter started screaming from inside the car at me to leave her father alone, which woke my wife up to the craziness of the situation. She got us both to calm down, sit down and start talking. At this point, I'm still not clear at what's going on and what happened before I got there.
We sat down and talked. He he was there because he thought I was the one who flicked a cigarette at a baby (he clarified later, not his baby) and he was convinced that it was me. He even had a witness that saw me do it.
Only thing is, I didn't do it. I would never hurt a baby. I would never flick a cigarette at baby. I don't touch cigarettes. I don't even smoke.
I wonder where these people are getting the idea that it is only one person with any concerns?...maybe it has something to do with the messages from the CWC director which blame problems on "A resident" or messages from their own community which targeted me and my daughter.
At any rate, we sat and talked and much like the enlightening conversation I had with another charter parent, this father was unaware of most of the issues with the co-location including safety, segregation and the seriousness of the gang threats, and was convinced that I was part of this rich family trying to keep outsiders out of our neighborhood.
The father seemed pleasant enough. He said he wanted to work to get the issues resolved. He said he wasn't a founding parent, yet he had Allison and Amy's (CWC principal and director, respectively) ear and wanted to get them involved. He said he had been talking to them all weekend. I told him about the disaster that was the CWC admin/Stoner community meeting, and about the parent liaison group that has only met once since CWC has cancelled on all the other meetings. He knew none of this, yet was convinced that if we worked together we could fix all the problems. I almost believed it. We exchanged phone numbers and then he gave me a hug (weird) before returning to his child who had been in the car the whole time bawling their eyes out. And then, he left.
|bracket with missing sign|
Yup, I almost believed it, until I took a walk around my neighborhood and saw more than two signs were missing. Multiple signs were removed from multiple houses. Some brackets from the signs where still in the ground. I looked around and was able to find the signs in a near by trash can. The signs were ripped, bent and mutilated, and the brackets were mangled . We talked to the neighbors who had their signs stolen and found out that there was a tossed the cigarette incident. The neighbor in the incident asked if I would go with him to the police station to report the signs stolen from his house.
So, putting all this together. This man had come to my neighborhood looking for me because he was under the mistaken impression that I threw a cigarette at a baby. It wasn't even his baby, but he was so upset that he went on a vandalism spree in the neighborhood with his kids in the car and then showed up at my house yelling at my wife (who he thought was just a tenant) that I'm lying to the neighborhood, forcing neighbors to have signs in their yards and throwing cigarettes at babies.
Frankly, none of this is surprising considering the cyberbullying and, online and offline threats I have received from the CWC community. As long as the co-location continues, problems with the home school and neighborhood will continue and will only get worse.