Parents say a state agency in California simultaneously “raided” three pre-schools and interrogated their one- to four-year-old children in order to investigate the school’s masking practices.
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.
Voice of San Diego reported:
According to teachers and parents, toddlers at three Aspen Leaf Preschool sites in San Diego were separated from familiar adults in mid-January and asked questions by state regulators about the school’s masking rules by state inspectors.
Upset parents described the incidents as coordinated “mask raids.”
During the pandemic, the state of California established a mask requirement for all students, even its very youngest.
“Child care licensing investigators do have the authority to interview children in isolated settings,” he reported, “but many Aspen Leaf parents said they believed such tactics were meant to be used in extreme cases, like alleged child abuse.” Wrote Will Huntsberry.
Some of those parents complained to the agency. Stephanie and Richard Rosado, parents of a four-year-old Aspen Leaf student, wrote in their complaint.
“This gross abuse of power is shameful and unacceptable for many reasons. The people who ordered this to be done and those who participated should be held responsible.”
Aspen Leaf parent Connie Wu, whose daughter was not yet two at the time of the “raids,” told Huntsberry she doesn’t really know what happened during the interview because her daughter is too young to express it.
“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.”, “Regulators separated the children and toddlers from familiar adults at each of the centers to ask questions about the preschools’ masking policies.”
For now, Aspen Leaf is enforcing the mask mandate to avoid being shut down. Fortunately, the mandate is being lifted on Friday, after which the preschools can return to their pre-raid, sensible approach.