California Officials Led ‘Multi-School Raid’ at Preschools, Interviewed Toddlers About Mask Practices

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

Mask mandate debates have overrun the United States. But now, parents and non-parents alike have begun condemning the enforcement of masks in schools. Recently, mandates weakened following President Biden’s State of the Union Address. However, prior to the new regulations, representatives from the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) conducted a “multi-school raid” in state preschools regarding mask mandates that’s drawn scathing criticism. The investigations saw representatives conduct interviews with children as young as two, without parental consent.

What We Know:

  • Congress officially ended its own masking mandates as well as D.C.-wide mandates this month.
  • All 50 states, save for Hawaii, have updated mask policies to align with the CDC’s latest recommendations.
  • A January complaint regarding mask mandates at a California preschool spurred a “raid” of several childcare institutions.
  • Parents became infuriated following “inappropriate” CDSS interviews with children, expressing complaints in a legal appeal.

California Social Services ‘Raid’ Preschools After Mask Complaint

CA’s mask mandates officially end Friday March 11th, following the conclusion to mandates in numerous other states. However, before President Biden announced the severely weakened mandates last week, criticism has been directed at CA’s Department of Social Sevices after they conducted a “raid” of several childcare institutions regarding mask mandates and regulations.

The New York Post reports a January complaint inspired the investigation. The claim stated all three of Aspen Leaf Preschool’s locations had not been abiding by state mask mandates. In response, the CDSS conducted investigations and interviews with children as young as two on January 19th of 2022.

Howard Wu, the preschools’ owner, shared with Fox News that the representatives separated the children from their teachers and interviewed them privately about the state’s masking mandates. He argued the government agency’s investigation resulted in “unnecessary and inappropriate child interviews.”

Following the “simultaneous, multi-school raid,” Aspen Leaf Preschool received a Type A citation. The Voice of San Diego reports this is the most severe violation type.

Upon receiving the citation, Wu said, “We were open the whole pandemic about not masking children and the reasons why. The policy was on our website.”

Aspen Leaf Preschool’s policy states, essentially, that “children can NOT mask while sleeping and eating.”

Wu explained that for children under full-day care, that’s three hours in of an entire day gone without masking. He posed that as such, “masking at other times offers no health benefit.”

Preschool Students’ Parents Infuriated Over ‘Inappropriate’ Interviews

In speaking with Fox News Digital, Wu shared responses from many of the children’s parents after learning of the raid.

While the CDSS stated the citation addressed the students’ “personal right to safe and healthful accommodations,” one parent insisted it was the interviews that posed a threat to their child.

“I do not feel this interview served my child’s safety or well-being,” wrote one parent. In fact, they continued, “I believe it may have given a harmful impression about her obligations to speak with strange adults in private without known caretakers present.”

Another parent insisted the CDSS had entirely “overstepped their authority,” explaining the authorization for private interviews with children are in place for cases of abuse, “which is ENTIRELY absent from this situation.”

Following the investigation and the citation, Wu filed an appeal which has received significant support from the preschool children’s parents and families.