Dad: NJ threatens to take away son after pencil-twirling incident

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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.

Teen claims he was suspended from NJ school for twirling a pencil

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.

READ RELATED: Father claims son was removed from NJ school for twirling a pencil

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.

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  • lajih

    Groups have tried to coalesce against DYFS before. Nothing happened; no investigation, no accountability for the abuse of the organization and the corruption, NOTHING. Sign a petition, nothing happens to DYFS. Start a blog, nothing happens to DYFS. Who are these people who are completely immune to reproach?? Why are they allowed to run rampant and destroy families outside of the law? I speak from personal experience, and if there was ever a cause I wanted to devote my life to, it’s stopping these horrible people from doing to other families what they did to mine.

  • sidicas

    Wow. I used to twirl my pencil exactly the same way when I was in school. You sit there in class and the teacher just talks on and on for hours about stuff you already know. You can’t tap your pencil on the desk because that makes noise. You can’t talk to people because you’ll get in trouble. You can’t read because it makes the teacher angry. Only thing you can do is sit there and play with things. So I would sit there and learn to get good at twirling my pencil in my hand because there was nothing else to do. I got really good at it to the point where I could twirl with one hand and twirl continously without dropping the pencil and twirl both forwards and reverse.. Did it for years and nobody ever cared.

    I feel sorry for this kid :(.

  • Reality Check

    Ohhhh come on people. Realistically, you all actually think there isn’t more to this story? The threshold to even initiate an investigation is so high that there is obviously a lot that Dad of the Month isn’t reporting. Point out every bad incident that has ever occurred but please lest we forget the thousands that are protected every single year in NJ due to the child protection agency. I’m not fooled and I won’t jump on the bash DCPP bandwagon. Wake up.

    • Terri McG

      Not sure where you get the idea that the threshold to initiate an investigation is high, it is actually extremely low. They have the power to go into a home even if the family has solid proof a report was erroneous.

    • Sandra Sentz

      You have no idea what you are talking about! These people are evil and they are using kids to get money from the Federal Government! In one county in WV they have 450 children. In the state they have 4097 children that they have collected 36 million dollars for in 2013! If these people are not stopped, your child could be next! I’m glad this father got a response from the Governor! The Governor of WV had someone call me and tell me that he could not interfere in these cases and I should get an attorney. The cheapest one I could find said this could go on for years and end up costing $75000!! Do some research before you speak about something you obviously know nothing about!

  • StopDoing1984Things

    “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.

    This invokes shear fright in my heart.

  • fuck you

    fuck these inbred guido fucks… you voted for powerful central government control, so fucking have it. lol

      • DayGoddess Crystal

        Actually government can be centralized at the state level if it’s a state agencies not affiliated with a federal agency or not federal agency exist to address that state need. This is a total abuse of power. Family, I would lawyer up and get as much press as possible, homeschool your kid. Public schools are not teaching any skills today, just ideology. Test scores prove charter schools and homeschool students outperform public schools two to one. Signed ex “at risk” teacher.

  • fuck you

    ok, in the interests of being fair (and adult) there has to be more to this story than some kid acting like kids do and some agency going overboard for no reason, especially in light of the lack of any grounds for further investigation.
    will pix11 keep running this story as its main focus and keep calling and nagging the dcpp and dcf or just give up and state they never got back in time for the newscast. stay on top of this stuff, please

    • Michael Chaplin

      Well FU there is more to the story – it DCPP ignoring other more serious abuses to another sibling, its DCPP ignoring mountains of evidence, Its DCPP using their clout to enroll children in services that everyone involved profits from. ITS ABOUT MONEY for DCPP!

  • Jeff Gelson

    They will absolutely try to take this boy away from his father they have to prove they are above the law. The father needs to file a lawsuit right away to prevent this from happening. He has to get a judge to declare he is a good father and to order the state to stay away from the boy.

    • Frankie Conn

      GOOD LUCK!! NJ IS OC. They take Good Kids from good homes. BIG!!! Money Maker for Case Workers too. How many of Us did the lawsuit/NJ Thing? They Snatch your Child Away First!!!! This is no joke! Ya know something. When I would Play with My Pencil. When I was Doing a Test. I GOT A HIGHER Grade, lol. No SH!! Evaluate the OTHER Kid that was NOT Minding His Business. His Parents are Probably NJ Case Workers. And The RAT FINK Kid that Told on His Classmate. Is Probably a Spotter. Good Luck Dad. Your in the POOP BOWL Like All the False Reported Parents in NJ+++ Do Your Homework. Its Child Laundry for $$$$$

  • Michael Chaplin

    This is not just a NJ thing this is an epidemic in America – just look for yourselves – 30 min of research and you will see what so many parents have to go through to fight for their kids – I have had calls from people right here in NJ and as far away as Alaska in the past 24 hours – this issue must be addressed and the shame of CPS must be dragged out into the cold harsh light of day.

    Here is a good example:

    • Jan Smith

      Hello Michael, Tomorrow is the Fatherless Day rally held yearly and all over the country and for that matter the globe. I am not sure what is going on in NJ tho…it is about father’s rights. It is critical to get involved in groups who can support you in a host of ways during this onslaught of your family. Google the fatherless day rally to see what is happening. I know there is one in DC. Secondly, there is an international protest going on starting July 13 called the “4th annual international protest for the love of children” which is also found in facebook events. We have to as a collective fight this tyranny. I know your pain and fear on this. You are not alone. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

      • Dana

        Hey guess what? Kids have TWO parents. It’s not just fathers who lose rights to their kids but they’re the only ones anyone cares about. If a woman loses her kids she always deserves it. B.S., too. By the way, just because the MAYUN isn’t in the household bossing the woman around, doesn’t mean their kids are “fatherless.” They still have a dad. He ain’t dead. Maybe he needs to get over the fact that the relationship ended and SHOW THE HELL UP once in a while.

        Yes, yes, I know, women are dysfunctional when relationships end too. But people like you act like men NEVER do anything wrong. Guess again.

        P.S. I’ve seen the stats. Did anyone here know that most child custody cases are agreed to by settlement rather than court ruling? When a custody case goes to court and is decided by the court, fathers win the kids about 50% of the time. Just FYI.

    • Mae

      Michael I live in NJ and am very concerned about the issues your son’s experience touch on. Is there any way to get in contact with you over email or FB?

  • LA Bowden

    What is happening down there in the States??? People wonder why kids ARE going on shooting rampages & this is a clear indication as why! Get a grip! Kids are expected to act & think like adults at too young an age. Let kids be kids for God sake!

    • Dana

      No, I’m afraid that’s not it. We force kids to sustain their childhood way past the point it makes any sense. This is, for example, the reason parents tend to lose their kids if the parents are younger than 18. No one ever expected them to be mature and no one prepared them for adulthood. It’s like we think kids don’t need to learn any grownup stuff until they are actually adults–and by then it’s too late and we’re not responsible for them anymore.

      Anyway, you’re implying that it’s somehow an adult, grownup, mature thing to do to go shoot up a school, whereas if a child is taught things like impulse control–you know, adult skills–they are LESS likely to do something like that. I won’t say UNlikely because there’s always that mental health factor to consider.

    • Ruth

      Finally! A sensible reply! Children are NOT just short adults. They play, they use their imaginations, they sometimes fight. As parents we should guide them to use these skills properly. Never should we watch them and try to see evil in everything they do.

  • Jacob Stagg

    How is it that Governor Blimp got included in this insanity? Did he shut down a major pathway in his brain for political gain?

  • The Truth

    Do you know why the state can take your child away from you….Because you are a slave, you don’t even own your own children, the govt does, the day they were born and you signed that birth certificate you turned over ownership of your child to the govt…It’s the same with everything you do, register YOUR car, you turned over ownership that is why they can tow your car anytime they choose, otherwise it would be stealing – Same thing with your house when you signed the deed you gave ownership to the county, that is why you must pay rent to them in the form of taxes, stop paying the rent and they kick you out, because it is their home and they reserve the right to make you leave if you don’t pay!

    It’s one big mafia of fees, taxes, fines, everything is in the criminals favor, the criminals are the govt, they don’t want you to know what they have done to you, just pay slave and keep your mouth shut or we’ll have one of our corporate enforcers you call cops come throw you in the gulag…You are imprisoned with bars you can’t even see, want to add a room on to the counties house that you gave them, go get a permit and tell them how you want to change their house, that permit is their PERMISSION to let you or they will tell you no, it’s our house and you ain’t changing it…Want to leave the country, must get their permission, they own you slave, you can’t do nothing without your owners permission, you can even ride a bike in most towns with a bike permit, their permission, want to go catch a fish, welll first you need your masters permission–You are about as free as a dog in the pound, you just don’t know it, and you will never see it, because they tell you that you are free, do something your masters don’t like, you’ll see how free you are–SLAVE!


    • Dana

      You’re sort of right, in some ways, but I’m just wondering if you fancy living in a world in which you don’t get any public works like roads and water treatment facilities unless you’re willing to pay the entire cost out of your own pocket. If you want to live in a nation-state where people put resources together to build these things, you have to have taxes. If you don’t want to live in a nation-state with all this stuff, of course, don’t worry about anything I just said.

      In any case we’ve had birth certificates since time out of mind and it’s only been in the last several decades that states have gotten kidnapping-happy. And mostly of the middle-class and poor children. You will note they don’t bother the children of rich kids.

      And that wouldn’t change at all if we got rid of the government tomorrow. We’d be ruled directly by rich people instead of being able to pretend we had any say in it. Maybe you think that’s OK cause you’ll be rich in ten years, you swear, really… but if you’re going to have a political philosophy it needs to be based in reality, not possibilities.

      • StopDoing1984Things

        It doesn’t have to do with “getting rid of government,” it has to do with RESTORING LEGITIMATE government, represented by the people and not by corporations, banks and agencies full of cronies. I wish people would stop pulling the “oh well I guess you don’t like good roads and infrastructure” card as if in order to have those things, we need child predators in positions of power. Gotta take the good with the bad, I guess! Sheesh.

  • Hal

    Investigations in our State proved that in these Orgs , there are incentives for employees to collect as many children as possible under the budget . Also uncovered was one of the hidden methods that single and plural homosexuals are using their influence to obtain children under the radar . Slash and burn these rogue institutions down and arrest ignorant politicians and unelected ” Crats ” that thrive on them .

  • Musashi

    The ‘investigator’ leading this case lives somewhere.

    Actions require consequences….especially actions like taking your child away.

    • Frankie Conn

      MUSASHI, I Agree. Yes, they all LIVE in NJ…….ORG.CRIME…..BIG PAY. CHECK OUT NJ FOSTER CARE/ADOPTION. DOES Anyone see this being done to Kids that Are Trouble Makers etc? NJ and the other 49 States Can’t get Bad Kids Adopted Out or Fostered. No MONEY to be Made with Troubled Kids.

  • Tom Jefferson

    How Ironic that Pix11 runs a story allegedly shocked that a school administrator massively over reacts to a student doing something that might, if one were to use their Pix11 anti-gun fear mongering imagination, be taken to be imitating the motions of a pretend firearm. Perhaps if Pix11 and the other anti-gun, tabloid, fear mongering news organizations did not spend so much time blowing incidents of violence where a firearm is used so immensely out of proportion we would not have the inane laws and over reactions to harmless gestures by students.

    It should also be pointed out that Pix11 has absolutely no problem putting disgustingly violent programming on the air which glorifies violence and the VIOLENT use of firearms. Enough with the anti-gun silliness already! Violent PEOPLE commit violent acts. If firearms were truly the cause of violence then by that reasoning all gun shop owners would be mass murderers and homicidal maniacs.

    Stop blaming firearms for violence caused by a myriad of social and societal problems caused in part by poor economic and social programs. Incompetent mayors, governors and other incompetent elected officials try to blame inanimate objects for their lack of leadership and incompetence. Do politicians or the media blame the availability of matches or gasoline for arson? No! Do politicians or the media blame The National Automobile Dealers Association after a high speed crash which kills thousands of teenagers every year? NO! So why do they blame an organization which represents more than 5 million dues paying members (the NRA) when a mentally ill person commits a violent act with a firearm? Makes no sense does it?

    Yes a firearm can kill but so can a baseball bat, a hammer, a knife, a rock, a car, a golf club, a bathtub filled with water etc. Yet nobody call a person intentionally killed by drowning a victim of water violence do they. So again stop the inane ignorance claiming gun violence. Violence is violence period! Violence itself is the problem not the object a person used while committing a violent act.

    Promote peace — not violent TV programming.

  • Ed Walden

    And now you know why the federal government is arming these criminals. They know that if they take my child they better be prepared to die. I will shoot until either I am dead or there are no more of them standing.

  • Gerry Emery

    How do you twirl a pencil like a gun? I mean REALLY? It is NOT something a gun owner does. To begin with, it is something promoted by Hollywood in old movies, it is not something a real gun owner would do by sheer virtue of the fact that it would be dangerous to do with a loaded gun, you IDIOTS! The authorities in question here need to quit watching so much old television and old movies if they really take this seriously. What a bunch of FUCKING IDIOTS!

  • Anonymous

    Privacy is the last refuge of the abusive gov’t scoundrel these days… Ain’t that right, DCPP and NJDCF?

  • Shelly Fitzgerald

    child welfare services in most states are fucked up!!!! Look at Arizona………..I watched a client get her newborn baby taken away, reason being, “just in case something happened”……..honestly, I witnessed this……….it’s a travesty!

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