It all started when 13-year-old Ethan Chaplin was playing with his pencil at school. A classmate witnessed Ethan’s pencil play and claimed that he was twirling it around like a gun. I didn’t know that a gun is something you twirl around your hand like one would a pencil. It seems that’s what you say to get anyone in trouble at school these days. “Hey, teacher, Ethan’s reading his book ‘like a gun,’” or “Ethan’s sitting down in his chair and paying attention ‘like a gun.’”
School officials did the usual and threatened Ethan with suspension, but because of media attention surrounding this “incident,” they backed off. Ethan’s dad received letter from school officials notifying him that they decided not to pursue any kind of disciplinary action.
But apparently, state social workers got word of the incident and pursued Ethan and his dad Michael further, even threatening to take Ethan away and put him up for adoption. And what particular act of child abuse or neglect spurred the state social workers’ threats? Well, following Ethan’s pencil-twirling episode where nothing happened, Ethan’s dad refused to take his son in for a psych evaluation. I don’t blame him. But the misnamed Departments of Child Protection and Permanency and of Children and Families viewed that as abuse:
“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.
All this nonsense because a 13-year-old played with his pencil. Ethan and his dad are the only sane ones in this story. The ones who desperately need that psych evaluation are the school officials and social workers.