State Agents Targeted Private Schools In “Mask Raids” Without Parents’ Knowledge

( )- In January, officials with the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) visited three Aspen Leaf Preschool locations in San Diego after receiving a complaint that they weren’t enforcing the state’s mask mandate.

According to social services, officials from the agency’s Community Care Licensing Division visited all three locations on January 19 where they separated the children from their teachers, then proceeded to interview children as young as two about their masking habits. And they did it all without the consent of the children’s parents.

Aspen Leaf Preschool owner Howard Wu filed a complaint with the CDSS over what he described as a “simultaneous, multi-school raid” resulting in “unnecessary and inappropriate child interviews.”

Wu argued in his complaint that the CDSS doesn’t have the authority to enforce a mask mandate issued by the California Department of Public Health.

Wu later told Fox News that Aspen Leaf has always been open about why they are not masking children, saying the policy is stated on its website.

Aspen Leaf decided that since children don’t need to wear masks for the 3 hours of the day spent eating or sleeping, there was no health benefit to requiring them to wear a mask the rest of the time. He said every family but one supported the preschool’s policy not to mask children.

Wu also didn’t understand why the CDSS didn’t just issue a citation and leave rather than hit all three locations at once and conduct interviews with the children. He said the move “felt like a power play.”

In response to Wu’s complaint, the DCSS asserted that it has the authority to “enter and inspect a licensed child care facility at any time” without advance notice. The DCSS also claimed it had the authority to interview children in private without prior consent.

The DCSS Community Care Licensing Division determined that Aspen Leaf “failed to ensure that staff and students” were masked as required by the state and violated the “children’s personal right to safe and healthful accommodations.” It issued the preschool with a Type A citation, the most severe violation type.

Aspen Leaf is appealing the citation.