NJ officials threaten to report dad to child welfare over COVID confrontation
BEACHWOOD — A father who police say refused to pick up his son after a school official told him that the child had been exposed to COVID-19 gave his version of events in a Facebook video on Friday.
Beachwood police said John Wehrle showed up at Beachwood Elementary School on Wednesday after following contractors into the building and "screamed" at the front office staff, demanding answers about his son. Earlier he had told the school nurse he was not going to come to school for his son, police said.
When he arrived, a staffer notified a police officer stationed at the school.
The officer spoke to Wehrle and said his son would have to be taken home per Toms River Regional School District policy. If he were to refuse to take the boy home, the child would be considered to be “in peril” and the Department of Child Protection would be contacted. Werhle took his son and left, police said.
Dad said he stayed calm
In his video, Wehrle said he was about to step into the shower when the school nurse called. Wehrle said the school nurse would not answer his questions about how and when his son was exposed.
"She asked if I was coming to pick up my son and I said, 'yes, I am coming to pick up my son. I will be there in 10 minutes,' and I left," Wehrle said.
Police said the nurse told him it would all be explained in an email and that his son could participate in classes virtually during his quarantine.
Wehrle said when he arrived at the school, no one would answer the door so he followed the contractors inside. An employee told him he would have to buzz in. He said he went back to the door, which is when the officer came out and asked if Child Protection needed to be notified.
"The school's refusing to prove their burden of proof. And I'm refusing to sit down," Wehrle said, adding that he remained calm while at the school.
Following the governor's executive orders
Beachwood police said that authorities have to follow Gov. Phil Murphy's executive orders.
"We please ask that you remain patient through this difficult time for all of us. We understand the frustrations many of you have with the rules that are currently in place but we as a department, school district, and parents must work together to navigate through this difficult time," police said.