Last week parents from a ritzy Los Angeles preschool, Camelot Kids, were shocked by an aggressive email sent by the school’s director, chastising them for inviting recently fired school employees to a cocktail party. Now parents are pulling their children from Camelot’s roster.
Jezebel recently received a tip explaining that a group of teachers, recently fired from Camelot, were invited to a cocktail party thrown by parents with children enrolled at the school. The parents, who maintain a private Facebook group to discuss the school’s goings-on, were interested to know why these instructors were terminated. Moreover they were concerned about the state of Camelot’s administration.
According to a Facebook post copied to Yelp, Director Renae Plant was invited to this party as well. She instead responded by sending a contentious email to all Camelot parents. The contents of the message are excerpted below:
“ First and foremost I would like to remind you ALL as parents, that everything at Camelot between Camelot employees and parents is confidential. The exact same confidentiality applies when we deal with parent to parent issues involving your children each day.
Having any group parent meeting is not in anyone’s best interest and is not going to solve anything. In fact if this does occur it will leave me no choice but to ask all parents in attendance of any such meeting to find alternative care for their children for the new year, for not respecting Camelot’s policy and procedures.
[My husband] Livi and I will not be attending any parent group meeting as unlike other schools this is not a parent co-op and this school is not run or dictated by parents. It is run by trained professionals. We do not breed or tolerate any gang-like mentality. I would like to kindly remind everyone that this is not the end of the world, this is preschool.
I know as parents you feel connected to teachers but at the end of the day they are not your friends. You need to trust what happened was in the best interest for your children for Camelot as a whole. We do not entertain or tolerate parents/teachers who go about destroying something that takes years to create.
If any parent is unhappy with our decision to make Camelot a happy positive place then you are more than welcome to find another preschool which makes you and your family HAPPY. Please do not show up on the first day of school, smile to my face, then gossip behind my back and expect me to take care of your child each day.”
The family who planned the cocktail gathering were indeed “expelled” for breach of policy. The parents posted Plant’s email to Facebook, where it caught the attention of Yelp commenter Mark B. He then posted it in full onto the review site.
But this is not the first negative account of Camelot to find its way to Yelp. On June 13, 2014, Lilac B. detailed some of the school’s more elitist practices, including the requirement of an admissions essay accompanied by a family photo.
Camelot also seems to maintain a homogeneous population. Lilac B. writes “Diversity seems nonexistent at Camelot Kids. From what we could tell, few, if any, families are divorced, minimal of any LGBT families attend, it’s almost all Christian and maybe 1 or two families of color ‘attend’ per grade — if that.”
The school also requires tuition payment even on “early dismissal” days, of which there are apparently many, and on “random off days.” And in terms of care, this reviewer refers to the lack of an “indoor lunchroom”—the students apparently eat outside despite the weather—and little disciplinary action meted out. Ultimately, Lilac B. concludes, “Camelot is all style and no substance.”
On June 18, 2014, Plant (logged in as “Ranae P.” responded to this Yelp review, referencing a prior conflict, and, in the process, publicly identifying the first name of the reviewer’s child.
“I totally understand why you would feel this way, considering you were the second family in the history of Camelot to have your services terminated. Your actions were reported to Department of Social Services at the time as Camelot takes threats to this school, our children and teachers very seriously.
Everyone else has graduated happily after spending 3 - 7 years here and only leaves sadly, if they had to move for work. Just perplexed as to why it took you a year and one moth to purge on YELP via an alias?
I know it’s easy to write a review on Yelp using a fake name with no face thinking there are no consequences. Once again I take these derogatory, defamatory and discriminatory threats against both Camelot and myself personally very seriously and will take legal action if necessary.
There are two sides to every story. Sometimes it’s just not a good fit.
I wish you and your husband the very best with [redacted]’s education. [They] are such a sweet [child].”
Commenters have also expressed concern over Camelot’s health guidelines. On January 21, 2015, Michael B. noted that the school “[allows] unvaccinated students to enroll.” Camelot’s Parent Handbook indeed confirms that “An affidavit can be filed for those who do not immunize their child for religious or personal reasons.” When parents asked the administration about this leniency at open house, “it was obvious they did not want to talk about [the] policy.”
Jezebel has requested a statement from Plant and is waiting for her response.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image via Facebook.