California Officials Close Down Christian Preschool Over Mask Mandate For Young Children

The California Department of Social Services came down on a Christian preschool for alleged violations of Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 mask mandate for young children.

A parent complaint reportedly started the problems for Foothills Christain Church Preschool in El Cajon last December and led to Social Services ordering the school be shut down on December 10.

Tiffany McHugh is the school director and told local reporters that she made repeated efforts to comply with the mandate despite resistance from parents with children enrolled. She said that the school had tried to work with Social Services after becoming involved, but it was “really hard” against parents who strongly opposed having their young children masked.

McHugh added that the original infraction had been resolved by November. Still, a follow-up visit by agents from the state in December revealed children not wearing masks according to the rules.

Estate agents told reporters that the school was found guilty of not enforcing the mandate against staff or students over two years old. Reports indicate that McHugh has been permanently suspended from working in childcare in California.

Administrative Pastor Kevin Miller of the Foothills Christain Church said in an interview with the Family Research Council that he sees the order closing the school as a “calculated attack” on a church by the state. He said that the agents targeted his church’s school with 11 total visits lasting hours at a time each while other area schools have not had more than a single visit in five years.

Miller said the agents were “very, very hostile” and interviewed three and four-year-old children without parental knowledge or consent. He added that they were antagonistic toward innocent preschool teachers.

Republican State Senator Brian Jones and El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells met with parents, administrators, and pastors at the preschool last week to protest the Social Services shutdown order.

Senior Pastor David Hoffman said that the school enjoyed growing enrollment just before the state started its investigation last fall. He said that the school had been planning expansion to add another fifty children at the time.

Hoffman said it wasn’t possible to “force a mask on a preschooler” or tell parents who oppose masking their young children that it is an absolute condition for attendance.