Parents balk over toddler interviews by mask police. If California authorities wanted to know Aspen Leaf Preschool’s masking policy, all they had to do was look at the school’s website. Instead, they conducted what the school’s owner called a “simultaneous, multi-school raid” at Aspen Leaf’s three locations to check on student masking and question preschoolers about their experiences.
Since last summer, the San Diego preschool has not made children wear masks. “We were open the whole pandemic about not masking children and the reasons why,” owner Howard Wu told Fox News. “The policy was on our website. Put simply, the mask guidance says children can NOT mask when eating and sleeping. In full day child care that’s 3 hours, so masking at other times offers no health benefit. All the families (except 1 in January) supported the policy.”
Wu is now speaking out—in the media and on his own website—about the visits from the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), which took place on January 19. Members of the department’s licensing division privately interviewed kids as young as 2 about whether they had to wear masks.
Wu called these interviews “unnecessary and inappropriate.” The school was open about not requiring masks; there was no need to question preschoolers before issuing a citation. “They could have issued us a citation in 5 minutes and let us take our challenge up through the proper channels,” he told Fox. “The simultaneous multi-school raids and the child interviews just felt like a power play.”
In a complaint about the agency, Wu quoted parents who did not appreciate having their small children questioned by state authorities.
“I understand that while the licensing agency is authorized to conduct private interviews with the children—this authority was put in place and intended for use when there is a situation of possible abuse, which is ENTIRELY absent from this situation,” commented one parent.
“I do not feel this interview served my child’s safety or well-being, and I believe it may have given a harmful impression about her obligations to speak with strange adults in private without known caretakers present,” commented another.
Wu also suggested that the Social Services department doesn’t have the authority to enforce the California Department of Public Health’s mask mandate.
The department, however, disagrees. It said in a letter to Wu that it is authorized to “enter and inspect a licensed child care facility at any time, with or without advance notice, to secure compliance with, or prevent a violation” of any laws or regulations. Aspen Leaf Preschool has been issued a Type A Citation, which the department describes on its website as “the most serious type” of violation, “in which there is an immediate risk to the health, safety, or personal rights of those in care.”
The school is appealing the citation. But for now, it’s making children ages 2 and up wear masks.
California officials raided preschool, interviewed 2-year-olds over mask policies https://t.co/hTt7x7bJAV
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) March 10, 2022
State employees visited all three locations of San Diego’s Aspen Leaf Preschool in January after a parent allegedly filed a complaint.
According to a letter from the CDSS, children 2-years-old and up were separated from their teachers and privately interviewed by state social service workers about the school’s masking policies.
The owner of the schools, Howard Wu, said the government engaged in a “simultaneous, multi-school raid” that resulted in “unnecessary and inappropriate child interviews.”
Speaking to Fox News Digital, Wu said, “Every family we heard from after the inspections were furious about the interviews. We were open the whole pandemic about not masking children and the reasons why. The policy was on our website. Put simply, the mask guidance says children can NOT mask when eating and sleeping. In full day child care that’s 3 hours, so masking at other times offers no health benefit. All the families (except 1 in January) supported the policy.”
Wu also stated he doesn’t believe the CDSS has the authority to enforce a mandate issued by the California Department of Public Health.
However, the agency claims they have the right to “enter and inspect a licensed child care facility at any time, with or without advance notice.”
The school is currently appealing a Type A citation issued by the state agency, the harshest violation it can impose.
Wu shared messages sent to him by parents who were concerned about their children being interrogated by the state over not wearing masks.
“I do not feel this interview served my child’s safety or well-being,” wrote one parent, “and I believe it may have given a harmful impression about her obligations to speak with strange adults in private without known caretakers present.”
“I understand that while the licensing agency is authorized to conduct private interviews with the children – this authority was put in place and intended for use when there is a situation of possible abuse, which is ENTIRELY absent from this situation,” wrote another parent. “Therefore, this agency has blatantly overstepped their authority.”
KATV reported, “Connie Wu’s 1-year-old daughter was one of the children interviewed by regulators. ‘She’s not developmentally able to tell me,’ Wu said. ‘She doesn’t have the vocabulary to be able to talk about being interviewed by a stranger.’”
Political commentator Dan Eberhart pointed out the hypocrisy of celebrities and politicians partying maskless at the Super Bowl while 2-year-olds are forced to stay muzzled.
This is especially ridiculous considering the insanely low risk Covid-19 poses children.
If celebrities and politicians can gather perfectly safely unmasked at the Super Bowl, then there is zero reason why kids can’t do the same at schools. https://t.co/cJ2RAkYHxz— Dan K. Eberhart (@DanKEberhart) March 10, 2022