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Dear Editor:

As we await the criminal trial of our children’s beloved Schoolhouse teachers, we learned today that Poncha Schoolhouse will be closed “indefinitely.”

Words can’t express the horror we continue to feel for this scenario in which a childcare center reached out for resources, and instead was met with litigation and criminal charges.

We the families have drafted a letter to submit to the District Attorney (DA) and are sharing it here for public visibility. Let the community know that this act has demonized good people, penalized uncertainty, and criminalized reaching out for help.

Above all, it has robbed our community of a resource, the Not-for-Profit Colorado Childcare Initiative. We families continue on our third week without childcare options, without any resources yet provided by DHS, and with disappointment that we have let this go so far as a community.

Let it be known that this is why there is nobody left in teaching, or in child care.

Letter to the DA:

February 5, 2023

To the Office of the District Attorney,

The Schoolhouse families would like to put out a statement on where we stand regarding the charges against Roberta Rodriguez and Amy Lovato. Within three hours today, 14 of 19 Schoolhouse families signed this statement and we’re awaiting a response from three additional families. The individuals who have signed below would like to strongly express:

1) The charges against Amy Lovato and Roberta Rodriguez should be dropped and they should have never been charged. We, as the ones with children in the Schoolhouse, stand behind them as being exceptional human beings and childcare providers. It will be extremely detrimental to the community if we lose them as educators.

2) The Sheriff’s department labeled Cactus Room families as victims and made us sign statements to that effect but we do not consider ourselves victims. They rushed us through the process, did not thoroughly explain what we were signing, and are now refusing to allow us to retract those documents.

We are requesting to be removed as victims in the court case and do not want charges filed on our behalf.

We are the people who interacted with the Schoolhouse staff on a daily basis and entrusted our kids in their care. Our priority is getting the Schoolhouse back open as soon as possible because we believe that’s what is best for the community and kids. The focus on the court case is taking resources and energy away from that priority. Please listen to the voices of those who have been impacted the most by this situation.

Signed by:
14 of the 19 Schoolhouse families, including 11 of the 13 families in the childcare room named in the charges.
[Names redacted for press release to protect privacy]

Brittany Buchholz, RD, CNSC