The phone rang in the middle of the afternoon, pulling me from my snooze (I start at 4am you see)
I grabbed my face and ran my fingers over the stubble.
"Hello, can I help you?" I said still half asleep.
"Yes. I need to speak with either Mr. or Mrs. Rutherford regarding Trish."
"Who is this?"
"Linda from the Neighbourhood Safety Centre. We have received some disturbing reports about Trish's behaviour at school."
Then why isn't the school ringing us then, and what is the Neighbourhood Safety Centre anyway?
"What reports?" I said rather worried and now completely awake.
"Does she have a bath with her brother?"
"The report states that he has been touching her in an inappropriate manner."
"He's two years old. He has no idea what's appropriate and what's not."
"The complaint also says she makes unwanted contact with other students."
"Are you aware of these accusations?"
"Of course not."
"Who filed the complaint?" Maybe we can settle this with her accusers before it really causes trouble. Maybe they think I'm teaching her these things.
"I'm sorry, It's department policy for all complaints the remain confidential."
"Has anyone actually substantiated these allegations?" I said more than a little suspicious now.
"So basically it's a story. You have no idea if it's true or not. Have you spoken to her school?"
"No. This complaint is low on our list of priorities."
Sounds like it shouldn't be on it at all, I thought.
"So what are you going to do about this?" Linda said.
Basically what you should have done before worrying me about my precious daughter.
"Talk to the school. Maybe talk to her if needed. But I'm not making a big fuss just in case this turns out to be garbage."
"As I said, this is low on our list of priorities. If we get more reports then there might have to be an interview and the police could be involved. I just want to check with you and make sure you're doing the right things."
"Thank you for your concern. Goodbye."
I drove straight to school and marched right into the office of Mrs. Mulhall, the school's year one supervisor. I explained to her about the phone call and she looked as perplexed as I felt.
"Sorry Mr. Rutherford, but if this had happened then we would have been obligated to report the incident to the authorities," Mrs Mulhall said.
"Who is this organization? Neighbourhood Safety Centre. Personally I've never heard of them," I asked.
"No Idea. But I will get to the bottom of this. Trust me."
Later I found out the story was bogus, a rumour spread by one of Trish's classmates because she wouldn't pay for her drink that day during lunch time. The little 'bestest friend' told her friends the story and one of them told her parents. The parents then located our number in the phone book and pretended to be someone else to try and find out weather it was true or not.
The school told us what happened, but kept all the names confidential just in case I was the type to seek retribution.
As a good father, I remember feeling angry and enraged. Some kid had dared spread a malicious lie as payback. The wanted to hurt Trish.
How do you think God feels when it happens to us, when we are lied about? Or better yet, how do you think he feels when we are the ones passing on the bogus information fed to us by our enemy?
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