This Kid Should Not Be Removed From His Home For Twirling His Pencil ‘Like A Gun’

By  | 

25789866-sfNew Jersey’s Department of Children and Families is threatening to remove a child from his home because of a pencil twirling incident that even his school has admitted was overblown and ridiculous.

13-year-old Ethan Chaplin had a plastic pen cap on top of his pencil. He bent the clip part down and was twirling it around in class. I’m attaching the news video so you can get a visual, but he was basically just fiddling around with his pencil the way most of us did when we were bored in class. A classmate claimed he was twirling the pencil like a gun, and all hell broke loose. The school threatened to suspend Chaplin.

After some media attention, the school backed off and realized there was really no incident here. The Superintendent sent a letter to Ethan’s father Michael, explaining there would be no disciplinary action at all. The family as well as the school thought the incident was behind them, until Ethan’s father received a letter from New Jersey’s Department of Child Protection and Permanency and Department of Children and Families. From Pix11:

“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.

So Ethan was seen by a social worker, and had his blood drawn and urine taken. They found no behavioral issues. This makes my head explode. The thought of subjecting my child to something as invasive as a blood draw and urine sample for something as stupid as twirling a pencil is unfathomable. The news report claims the state is “demanding further evaluation and threatening that if Michael doesn’t comply, they will terminate his parental rights and free Ethan up for adoption.”

Come again? This is terrifying. As you can imagine, the initial news report has a ton of comments, some from people sharing their own horror stories about NJ CPS involvement in their lives. Ethan’s father chimed in in the comments:

Hello Everyone – This is a surreal situation for me as a father – The crux of the story is a vindictive DCPP / DYFS worker after not getting his way filed a case against me. THE ONLY shred of “evidence” he had was me not bowing to his demand that I rush my son to the crisis unit to be evaluated for the pencil. In the end the school backed down, the evaluations turned up nothing BUT DCPP / DYFS ignored all of the documentation I had sent to them nullifying their case and now they will investigate themselves to see if they are guilty – I wonder what Governor Christy has to say about this?

Everyone needs to understand DCPP can step in at any time and rip a family apart with no evidence and outside due process.

I realize there are two sides to every story – but this just seems completely out-of-hand, especially since the school decided not to even pursue disciplinary action. Can the state really just step in, take away children,  and render a family powerless – over pencil twirling?


(photo: YouTube)