Last year, Natasha Vargas-Cooper reported a long and wild piece about Camelot Kids, a fancy preschool on Los Angeles’s east side that was crumbling under the influence of white wine, identity politics, and an extremely high-strung director named Renae Plant. Can’t be that crazy, you might be thinking? I recommend revisiting Natasha’s story, which includes parents doing molly on a parents-only field trip and the unforgettable concept of D.U.C.K.S.:
For a peek into Plant’s overall management style, her acronym-infused, psychobabble-heavy Power Point slides used for new staff orientation is a good start. Plant classifies good teachers as S.A.N.E. (Self-disciplined And Nurturing Enthusiasts). Bad teachers are categorized as D.U.C.K.S, (Dependent Upon Criticizing and Killing Success). The SANE are encouraged to confront the DUCKS when “they start quacking.” (This was casually referred to in a slide as “duck hunting season.”) To succeed at Camelot, Plant believes teachers must be H.A.P.P.Y: Having a Pleasing Personality Year-round.
The story ended with a four-year-old being expelled from Camelot after her mother, a big-money donor to the daycare, threw a cocktail party with a Facebook invite for Camelot parents without initially inviting Plant. The party was ostensibly to calm people down after a wave of capricious firings; Plant reacted badly, and the parents subsequently sued Plant.
Both the kid and the parents’ names were changed to protect anonymity in our piece. But according to the Los Feliz Ledger, Tim Disney (grandson of Roy Disney) and his wife are suing Camelot Kids over what sounds like a similar situation:
The lawsuit alleges that the girl was expelled from the school after her parents “engaged in free speech” and “free association” when they invited other parents, via social media, to their home shortly after Camelot owner, Renae Plant fired four teachers last summer shortly before the new school year.
Although the Disney get-together was ultimately cancelled, Plant believed one of the fired teachers had been invited, which, she said, led her to believe the event was planned to breed discontent among parents.
When Plant confronted Neda with her concerns about the gathering, Ms. Disney invited her to attend as well.
But Plant feared the invite was not a good-will gesture. Instead, she worried she would be ambushed at the event because of her firing decisions.
“Ultimately,” reports Erin Hickey, “Plant sent an email to all Camelot parents indicating if they attended the Disney party, their children would be expelled.” The court documents filed by the Disney family describe Plant’s behavior in response to the party as “open hostility and paranoia.” Sounds like it! Sounds like classic D.U.C.K. shit!
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Image: Tim Disney & Renae Plant, via AP/IMDB