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Chaffee Sheriff’s office,

You have continued hour by hour to let down my family and many others this week in this case. I’ve lived here for five years and I met my first Chaffee officer Monday; it only took three days to lose respect for you.

Your job is to de-escalate. You created an environment that you didn’t think through and we deserve an apology as parents.

As overheard on the steps of the schoolhouse as I rushed to grab my child Tuesday, [Monica] Haskell to Spezze said “so yeah, I called you ’cause I needed you here,” (and not the six officers that were lined in the lobby with guns? I repeat. Did not need them.)

Amy and Roberta the directors tried to make us feel at ease as much as they could as they pushed a smile and hugged their kiddos because they knew this would be so hard for them.

We saw our teachers the next morning as we came in for interviews and our kids ran down the halls to hug them. During our interview, they had heard most families that day give the same sentiments on the schoolhouse as a place we love. DHS told us that.

They asked who our kiddo’s friends were, who their teachers were, and if anyone had ever hurt them. As a parent… that is something you never want to be part of so you can imagine the anger building.

Amy started this place! She gave blood, sweat, and tears to build a place for us. Her kids go there. That’s all I’ll say about that because that speaks volumes.

Roberta had in-depth conversation with us on plans for our kiddo every single morning for weeks! She was eager to get the schoolhouse to its best self!

[Monica] Haskell from DHS said as she opened the parents’ meeting on Thursday* that “a” call had been received. Spezze who was tracked down in the hall as he walked past a heated room finally stepped in with an attitude and stated “multiple calls had been made”…. Then Haskell changed her response to multiple…  It’s hard to go into day three thinking you have support when nothing aligns.

One parent even verbally accused another parent of their 5-year-old as a child molester across the room on Thursday* and was removed from the space.

DHS confirmed what they found was not molestation. Are they counting the self-reported as a call? And a disgruntled parent as call two?

My family along with others is furious. DHS did state they felt the situation had not been handled great. One of our parents asked Haskell in front of the whole room and she shook her head in agreement.

The sheriff’s department has stated they care but they rushed to Facebook to post before DHS could meet us all in person. Spezze says, “Sorry, I told them not to do that”

So you tell me Chaffee Sheriff’s department … 24 children got uprooted from their school, their endless art hangings, their journals, cubbies, house slippers for cozy indoor shoes, playdoh, dance parties, friends, and community and this is what we get without still being told what actually happened?

Not one person has told us what actually happened but pushed us to sign victims’ rights forms. As parents today [in the meeting, we got] No instructions…We had to ask a gaggle of agents in the hall if our child was a victim and they all just said “name?”, and then “no” and continued on with their conversations. We started walking out individually to ask when one mom said … “I just went out and asked”…. Really?

Sheriff Spezze, you looked directly at us parents and said you had kids and you understood… but you don’t. You have no clue because you weren’t a parent of that school and if you were and felt this strongly you would’ve held the utmost respect for everyone in that room. We are a brilliant group of parents. We are reading, listening, recording and you’re not done with us. We saw you nervous and you saw us disrespected by you.

I hope the community gets to hear all sides without the gaslighting of this department. Just as your “anonymous” caller was heard.

A parent with a child at The Schoolhouse

The Writer requested to remain anonymous due to the family’s safety concerns.

* Ark Valley Voice Managing Editor Jan Wondra attempted to attend the referenced parent meeting at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the Touber Building, but was refused entry by the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office. This letter covers some of what went on in that meeting, in addition to parents’ reactions on Tuesday, January 25, when the Schoolhouse was shut down by DHS and the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office.