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State Shuts Down Church Preschool for Not Masking Toddlers

For six years, an El Cajon church preschool had taught children about Jesus and basic preschool concepts until California state officials closed them down last month for violating its COVID-19 mask mandate. Preschool Director Tiffany McHugh told CBS 8 San Diego that the California Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing visits started in September 2021 after a parent complained.

The state social service department demanded that they mask toddlers (two, three, and four-year-olds). Administrative Pastor Kevin Miller told KUSI News they tried to comply, but asked state officials to “work with us, because quite frankly we have parents that don’t think masking their three-year-old is a really good idea. …  In fact, we think it’s impossible. So we began that journey and we did the best we could.”

Pastor Kevin Miller

Miller said social services officials were hostile and aggressive. The preschool had over 40 hours of investigation over 60 days, Miller told KUSI News.

“It got so bad that there were kids who were interviewed that wouldn’t come back to school because of how aggressive the energy was. We had teachers that went home crying, because it destroyed what was going on. Yeah, we think we were unfairly targeted, for sure,” Miller said.

At one point state officials said they would write off the fines and told the preschool everything was fine. But a few days later they changed their mind and shut the preschool down on Dec. 10.

According to KFMB-TV, a group of parents gathered outside the Foothills Christian Church Preschool last week for a rally in protest of the decision. Joining them were church leaders, State Senator Brian Jones, and El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells.

“They are not going to get away with this,” Senator Brian Jones said in an interview with KUSI News. “This is a complete, egregious overreach of the state government.”

According to CBN News, the church is appealing the state’s decision with a hearing scheduled today, Friday, January 14.


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