California officials raid preschool, questioning 2-year-olds over mask policy

California regulators conducted an investigation at a San Diego preschool and privately interviewed children as young as two about their masking practices without their parents’ consent.

Officials from the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) visited all three Aspen Leaf Preschool campuses in January after receiving a complaint that the school was not enforcing the state’s mask mandate, according to the CDSS’s response to a complaint from the preschool’s owner . Howard Wu.

According to the CDSS letter, which Wu shared with Fox News Digital, officials from the agency’s Community Care Licensing Division entered the three preschool campuses on Jan. 19, separated the children from their teachers, and questioned them privately about their masking practices.

In his complaint to the agency, Wu described the investigation as a “simultaneous raid on multiple schools” that resulted in “unnecessary and inappropriate questioning of children.”

“Every family we heard from after the inspections was angry about the interviews,” Wu told Fox News Digital. “We have been open throughout the pandemic about not masking children and the reasons for it. The policy was on our website. Simply put, the mask instructions state that children must NOT mask themselves while eating and sleeping. In all-day care, this is 3 hours, so covering up at other times does not offer any health benefits. All families (except one in January) supported the policy.”

Wu also argues that the CDSS has no authority to enforce a mask mandate put in place by another agency, in this case the California Department of Health and Human Services.

“We believe in good faith that the agency has no authority to enforce another agency’s mask policy,” he said. “They could have issued us a subpoena in 5 minutes and let us put our challenge through the right channels. The simultaneous raids on multiple schools and interviewing the kids just felt like a power play.”

In its response to Wu, the CDSS said it has the authority “at any time, with or without notice, to enter and inspect a licensed child care facility to ensure compliance with state law or to prevent violation.” “Interview children without prior consent and, if necessary, conduct interviews in private.”

“Based on their personal observations and interviews with the facility’s leaders, staff and children, the CCLD staff determined that the licensee failed to ensure that staff and children use face coverings in accordance with the State Health Commissioner’s order dated June 11, 2021, and thus have violated the children’s personal right to safe and healthy housing,” the letter reads.

California regulators privately interviewed children as young as two without their parents' consent when they initiated the investigation at a San Diego preschool.
California regulators privately interviewed children as young as two without their parents’ consent when they initiated the investigation at a San Diego preschool.
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The agency issued a Type A subpoena to Aspen Leaf, the most serious type of injury, The reported Voice of San Diego.

In response to the quote that Aspen Leaf said was appealing, the school has updated its COVID-19 policy Masks mandatory for all children over 2 until the state’s mandate ends on March 11.

In his official complaint, Wu included several complaints from parents outraged by the CPSS investigation.

“I do not believe this interview was for the safety or well-being of my child,” one parent wrote, “and I believe it may have created a damaging impression of her obligation to speak privately to unfamiliar adults without known caregivers present.” are.”

“I understand that while the Licensing Authority has the power to conduct private interviews with the children, that power has been established and is intended to be used where there is a potential abuse situation which is COMPLETELY absent in this situation,” wrote another Parent. “Therefore, this agency has blatantly exceeded its powers.”

“Frustrated. Angry. Horrified. Confused,” another parent wrote. “These are just some of the words that describe what we felt as parents of a 3.5-year-old who was instructed by government officials at his preschool to wear masks indoors was questioned.”

Wu said he believes his preschool has been unfairly attacked for questioning the CDSS’s authority.

“After it all happened, I actually pulled every license report issued in California during the pandemic to get the data that shows we were treated harder than any other center,” he told Fox News Digital.

Wu published the data on a website He wrote, “California has a child care crisis” and “the Child Care Administration is making matters worse.”

When reached by Fox News Digital, the CCLD forwarded its written response to the parents who had complained.

“We want to reassure you that CCLD takes seriously its responsibility for ensuring the health and safety of children in licensed child care facilities,” read CCLD Deputy Director Kevin Gaines’ March 1 letter. “That’s why CCLD spoke to your child.”

“CCLD has confirmed that discussions with children during the investigation of the complaint were conducted with Aspen Leaf employees present or within sight of Aspen Leaf employees,” the letter said. “CCLD determined that the interviews were conducted in a reasonable manner and were a necessary part of the required grievance investigation.”

“A license assessor respects a child’s decision to answer questions,” he added. “If at any time during an interview a child expresses or shows concern or discomfort, the interview will be terminated.” California officials raid preschool, questioning 2-year-olds over mask policy


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