Pencil Twirling Incident - My9 New Jersey

Pencil Twirling Incident

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Vernon, New Jersey (My9NJ) - 13 year-old Ethan Chaplin of Vernon was suspended from school and ordered to undergo psychological testing for twirling his pencil in what some thought looked like a gun motion. His father initially balked at the idea if subjecting his son to a psych exam, but conceded when threats were made to take his child away.

“The conversations with DCPP became threatening where they would get a court order, they would seize custody and I said ‘not over a pencil you’re not’,” Ethan’s father Michael Chaplin recalled.

Once Ethan came back clear of all charges, Michael thought this issue was over.

“Well first they stripped him, they put him in a bed, took everything away from him including his phone, about an hour later they took urine and then 45 minutes later they took blood in which he passed out and they released him,” Chaplin said.

He said that he was upset that his son was being put through all of this so while they were leaving the hospital Mr. Chaplin and one of the state workers from Protective Services exchanged words.

“As the DCPP worker left he and I went outside and we exchanged words. Not violent, but not pleasant words and within 48 hours DCPP had filed a motion in court of care and supervision of Ethan and my other child. Outlining steps or process by which I have to follow or then they will seize Ethan and place him up for adoption,” Chaplin explained.

Mr. Chaplin and Ethan’s mother do not appear to have a good relationship, so right now the state is caught up in some back and forth, he-said/she-said, but based on documentation from doctors and the school, it doesn’t appear that Ethan is in any danger and it begs the question why a twirling pencil incident has led to this nasty battle.

A Child Protective Services spokesperson said that by law they can’t speak specifically to any cases, but issued a statement saying: “Simply twirling a pencil is not a basis to initiate Child Protective Services, much less substantiate child abuse or neglect”.


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