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June 11, 2014 permalink
When Ethan Chaplin was caught twirling a pencil in class, the school decided not to take action. But New Jersey child protectors found out. Now the hapless dad has to jump through their hoops or lose his son to adoption.
Dad: NJ threatens to take away son after pencil-twirling incident
VERNON, N.J. (PIX11) – A 13-year-old boy was the most famous kid in school for a few weeks.
A simple pencil-twirling incident landed Ethan Chaplin in hot water with his school, which threatened to suspend him after a classmate claimed he was spinning the writing utensil like a gun.
After media attention from PIX11 and around the world, school officials backed off — but child protection agencies did not.
Letters to Ethan’s father, Michael, show the school found his son did nothing wrong at all, and that there would be no disciplinary action. The superintendent was even confident the issue would be behind all of them.
Ethan’s father says his son was just twirling the pencil, not pointing it like a gun.
And that’s exactly what happened, until Ethan’s father received startling communication from New Jersey’s Department of Child Protection and Permanency and Department of Children and Families.
“I received a letter from them saying they had found an incident of abuse or neglect regarding Ethan because I refused to take him for psychological evaluation,” Michael said.
In an effort to play along and clear his name, Michael agreed to take his son for an evaluation.
Ethan was seen by a social worker, and had his blood drawn and urine taken. In the end, no behavioral problem was found.
The state, it seems, is ignoring that set of testing, demanding further evaluation and threatening that if Michael doesn’t comply, they are will terminate his parental rights and free Ethan up for adoption.
“All I can do is keep fighting, keep telling the truth and (keep) presenting the evidence. That is all I can do and hopefully the state does the right thing,” Michael said.
He has even reached out to Governor Chris Christie’s office, who replied they would contact the Dept. of Children and Families to investigate.
“…I’m scared because they have a habit of running away with things unchecked and that’s exactly what’s going on,” Michael said.
PIX11 tried to get a comment from DCPP and NJ Department of Children and Families but received no answers.
The agency told PIX11 they can’t discuss the allegations or even acknowledge they have involvement with the family.