Three Preschools Raided, Children Separated And Interviewed By State Agency Over Mask Mandate

Three Preschools Raided, Children Separated And Interviewed By State Agency Over Mask Mandate

A California state agency conducted interviews with preschool children, isolated from teachers and friends, to ask questions about masking.

Stephanie and Richard Rosado said that their son was one of those students who was interviewed for a state investigation into masking practices at Aspen Leaf Preschool, which has three locations in San Diego, all of which were besieged by investigators at the same time, The Voice Of San Diego reported.

But the school has already told parents and state regulators that it was not going to force its students to ‘mask, which made the “raids” unnecessary.’

“This gross abuse of power is shameful and unacceptable for many reasons,” the Rosados said in a complaint. “The people who ordered this to be done and those who participated should be held responsible.”

The state regulators “determined that the interviews were conducted in an appropriate manner and were a necessary component of the required complaint investigation,” Dep[uty Director of Child Care Licensing, Kevin Gaines, said in a letter to one Aspen Leaf parent, who complained.

“Staff are trained to conduct interviews with children in a manner that avoids causing undue stress,” he said.

He said that an adult from the school was in the “line of sight” of each of the children when they were interviewed, but that has not assuaged some parents.

“She’s not developmentally able to tell me,” Connie Wu, whose daughter is not even two years old, said. “She doesn’t have the vocabulary to be able to talk about being interviewed by a stranger.”

Aspen Leaf closed briefly when the pandemic began in March 2020. But when it re-opened in June, it openly did not enforce the state’s mask requirement. 

The owners of Aspen Leaf reasoned that children would not be allowed to wear masks while they were sleeping or eating. In other words, they’d give each other COVID-19 no matter what. On top of that, they didn’t believe the masks would be great for children’s development. 

Howard Wu, unrelated to Connie Wu,  is a part-owner of Aspen Leaf and a lawyer. He believes the state’s child care licensing department doesn’t have the authority to enforce the mask mandate – essentially because of a technicality. 

In order to enforce a regulation, the agency must issue a regulation, Wu said. But so far, the child care licensing department has not issued regulations on masks. 

But aside from the legal aspects of the case, imagine the audacity of a state agency separating, then interviewing, preschool children.

Imagine the psychological damage that could be done to a child that age from an experience like that.

In January, during the Omicron surge and after a parent complained to the licensing board, the agency called Wu and informed him that he had to enforce the mandate.

When he said that he did not believe he had to his facilities were raided days later.

Aspen Leaf was given a Type A citation, which is the most severe violation it could receive, and thus Wu had to give in to the demands or shut his doors.

The masking requirement will end on March 11, the same day it ends for regular schools.


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