Several parents in San Diego are outraged after finding out that state regulators stormed several preschools and interrogated their young children in private as part of a state mask enforcement operation.
In January, California child care licensing investigators questioned numerous students - between the ages of 1 and 4 - at three Aspen Leaf Preschools in the San Diego area. The private, teacher-owned schools were all simultaneously "raided" by state agents who immediately began isolating students alone and interrogating them about the school's masking policies.
The state enforcement operation comes after officials visited Aspen Leaf facilities twice in December and saw children weren't masked. No citations were written at the time, but investigators sent notified the school a few days later to warn that children are required to wear masks.
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The state then received a complaint about masking at the school in mid-January, which prompted investigators to call and demand that the school enforce the mandate. However, the school did not budge on its position, and all three of their locations were raided by state investigators a few days later, according to Aspen Leaf's co-owner Howard Wu.
After the raids, all three preschools were issued "Type A" violations by the state for failing to comply with the mask mandate, forcing Wu to change the school's masking policy to avoid getting shut down entirely. Aspen Leaf will return to its no-mask policy when the statewide mandate for schools and child care centers expires, which is set for March 11th.
Yes, really. In just 4 days the statewide mandate for students will be lifted. In spite of this, the state agents decided to storm a preschool to make an example of them for not complying with the mandates.
It's pure evil.
Parents were completely appalled when learning what happened, with several speaking out against the "inappropriate and unnecessary" harassment of their young children, especially considering that Aspen Leaf Preschools has repeatedly clarified their stance on masking students - it's not required, and hasn't been since the school reopened in June of last year.
Nevertheless, it's California. So, it was only a matter of time before the authoritarians would come running to quash dissent.
Although state regulators are allowed to interview children, the parents feel this was an unacceptable overstepping of their authority, because it should only be used in "extreme cases" - like when there is alleged child abuse.
From ‘Voice of San Diego,‘ which spoke with several parents at Aspen Leaf:
"What's strange about that decision, parents and teachers say, is that Aspen Leaf officials had already been open with parents and regulators about their decision to not mask children.
Regulators isolated and interviewed children aged one to four, a step many parents say was inappropriate and unnecessary.
"This gross abuse of power is shameful and unacceptable for many reasons," wrote the Rosados in a complaint. "The people who ordered this to be done and those who participated should be held responsible."
The California Department of Social Services and its child care licensing program oversee regulatory compliance in preschools. Child care licensing investigators do have the authority to interview children in isolated settings, but many Aspen Leaf parents said they believed such tactics were meant to be used in extreme cases, like alleged child abuse."
State agents even had the nerve to isolate and harass toddlers who can't even speak as part of their masking enforcement operation.
These people are monsters.
Connie Wu's daughter was not yet 2 -years old when she was interviewed by regulators in January. Wu doesn't know what happened in the room or how her daughter felt - because her daughter is too young to say.
"She's not developmentally able to tell me," Wu told me. "She doesn't have the vocabulary to be able to talk about being interviewed by a stranger."
In response to several complaints, state officials claimed that the interviews were conducted by the book and were a necessary aspect of the investigation. Kevin Gaines, California's deputy director of child care licensing, explained in a letter to one upset parent that the staff is trained to avoid causing stress for the children and there was an Aspen Leaf faculty member within "line of sight" at all times during each interview - as if that makes the situation okay.
Although they may have been within view, Aspen Leaf teachers and staff, who are familiar with the young students, were not allowed in the same room while the interviews were taking place.
The Voice of San Diego had more on Gaines' response:
"Regulators ‘determined that the interviews were conducted in an appropriate manner and were a necessary component of the required complaint investigation,' Kevin Gaines, deputy director of child care licensing, wrote to one Aspen Leaf parent, who lodged a complaint.
‘Staff are trained to conduct interviews with children in a manner that avoids causing undue stress,' Gaines wrote.
An Aspen Leaf adult was in the ‘line of sight' of each child, who was interviewed, Gaines told the parent.
Child care officials' reasoning has not soothed parents' anger."
Even in private schools, students aren't safe from this madness and authoritarianism. This is the state of education in Biden's America. It's shameful.
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