His parents say that he is just a normal, imaginative little boy; his school says that he needs mental health help. After Christian Maple was called to pick up his 7-year-old son Camden from school following an incident, Christian and his wife Katie had a long talk with their son to find out what exactly was going on. As parents, they know their son better than anyone, and they addressed the situation at home. They thought the matter was settled.
It should have been over.
But it wasn’t. It got much worse.
The next morning, staff at Bowman Primary School in Lebanon, Ohio, demanded to know the content of the Maples’ conversation with their son. Christian did not believe that was their business to know the details, and he and Katie chose to reject the primary school’s opinion that they needed to have Camden evaluated and treated by psychologists.
The school reported the Maples to Child Protective Services. Eight police officers later surrounded the family’s house and took 7-year-old Camden away from his home and his family.
Instead of the state respecting the Maples’ fundamental right to parent their child and make medical decisions for him, CPS has seized custody of Camden and accused his parents of neglecting his mental health. The Maples are still reeling in shock, and are now fighting to get him back home.
Typical American Boy Next Door
Camden likes Star Wars and Pokemon. He likes to play football with his brothers and to play with Legos. He enjoys video games like Mario and Sonic. He creates stories and draws his own comic strips. He has tested a full grade level above his grade level. Katie describes her stepson:
“Camden is very imaginative and creative. He’s a typical kid.”
He grew up as the only child of his father until Christian met Katie, mother of 4. Much like the Brady Bunch, two families blended into one. Camden went overnight from being an only child to having 2 older and 2 younger siblings. Since the arrival of his baby sister, he is now one of 6 children – 3 boys and 3 girls. According to their parents, the children have all adjusted “very well,” but it has still been an adjustment.
They are a pretty typical family, complete with mini-van, living in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. They try to eat healthily, but not necessarily organic. They vaccinate their children but prefer to space out the vaccines instead of giving many at once. Katie says:
“There’s really nothing out of the ordinary about us.”
The exception to that might be that they exercise their right to make medical decisions for their children and don’t always do what the school recommends. According to Christian and Katie:
“The school thinks he is ADHD, we as parents disagree. We believe that it stems mostly from boredom and not being challenged in the classroom. The school has tried on several occasions to get us to have him diagnosed so that he can be medicated.
“We as parents do not have the problems the school claims to have with him, at home. We know how to deal with a rambunctious 7-year-old, but the school is content with making him believe that he is a bad child, we disagree.”
He often finishes his school work before most of his classmates, so he doodles to fill the time. His parents report that he has gotten into trouble for that. They say that he gets bored at school and that they have made suggestions to his teacher about how to handle him, but the school has ignored all of their suggestions.
“They just want him diagnosed and medicated.”
Camden Sent to the Office at School
One day in late February, Camden got sent to the office for being disruptive in his class. He had to sit down with the school counselor. He told the counselor that he was “upset because he felt that he was bad and wanted to erase himself from the earth.”
Where many counselors would focus the questioning at that point on trying to learn why he thought he was bad and who told him that he was bad, the counselor at Bowman Primary School reportedly instead asked how he would accomplish erasing himself from the earth. Faced with that kind of question, the little boy who makes up stories for his own comic strips came up with the idea that he would stab himself in the eye with a knife. This response prompted a call to his parents.
Christian immediately drove to the school and picked up his son. He and Katie had “a long conversation” with him to find out what was going on.
“Camden said that he did not want to hurt himself and just said that because he was upset and wanted to see what the counselor would say. The school thought we should have taken him to the hospital emergency room for a mental health evaluation, but upon assessing the situation and speaking to him at home, it was clear to us that he posed no threat to himself and just said it to get a rise out of the counselor. He has never said anything about harming himself prior to this incident or after. This was one time, one day…most likely repeating something he heard somewhere.”
Both parents told Health Impact News that, if they had thought that he was truly suicidal, they certainly would have taken action:
“If we really believed that he would have really hurt himself, then we would have taken him to be assessed. They’ve blown this way out of proportion.”
There were no other signs of depression or of any intention to hurt himself, or anyone else. This was a one-time thing. They want to know if this is really about the school wanting to get the funding for having him diagnosed as a special needs child.
School Calls CPS When Parents Don’t Do What They Demand
The school phoned them the next morning to ask if they had taken him to the hospital. When they explained that they had had a long conversation with him and “addressed the situation,” the school demanded to know how they addressed it and what the content of their conversation was. When the parents told them that the details of the conversation were a private family matter, the school officials bristled and called CPS, claiming “neglect.”
Social workers called the Maples to investigate. They wanted to come into the home and talk with the children. Christian explained the situation and told them that Camden is fine. He also told them that an investigation would impose on their right to privacy and their “fundamental right of child rearing and medical decision making on behalf of [their] child, all of which have already been written into case law.” He also cited the 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and told them that they would need a warrant before they would be allowed to enter his home or talk to the other children.
Christian told Health Impact News that he never actually said that they were not providing services for Camden, as the school and social workers accuse, but he simply said it was none of their business.
Two weeks after all this, on March 3, Christian received a phone call that there was an “Emergency Shelter Care” hearing later that day. At court, the Maples learned for the first time that the school had called CPS on 4 other occasions during the past year. Katie says that all of the allegations were false and “obviously completely made up.”
“CPS never contacted us about these phone calls because they themselves admit that the calls were unsubstantiated.”
Yet, social worker Katie Pyle reportedly presented those phone calls to Magistrate Jennifer Coatney as evidence that Camden was in need of CPS care. According to the court report:
“…this child is at risk by virtue of multiple reports to Warren County Children Services and Father preventing the agency from investigating the situation [by exercising his 4th Amendment right to demand a court order or warrant before allowing CPS into his home]. The minor child has made threats of suicide and Father has not provided the children with proper mental health treatment.”
The school counselor and social worker have apparently made a diagnosis of a mental health disorder, although the law says that only a doctor can diagnose such. The family asserts that there is “zero proof of any such condition and zero proof of any parental wrongdoing, but yet the court ordered him removed.”
Magistrate Jennifer Coatney reportedly told Katie in court:
“You see what happens? This is what will happen to your other children if you do not cooperate.”
Later that day, social workers showed up at the Maple home with 8 armed police officers and every intention of taking Camden into state custody. The Maples felt that they had no choice but to comply. CPS seized Camden and placed him with a relative.
“How can this be?” Katie asks. “How can CPS get away with ripping children from loving homes without just cause? … CPS should not have this much unchecked power!”
The court has ordered that Christian and Katie complete a psychological evaluation and a drug and alcohol evaluation. They are also to be randomly drug tested. Neither has any history or so much as an allegation, of any drug or alcohol abuse or mental health issue. They have completed the evaluations, which all came back clean. They said that their psychological evaluator was “thoroughly confused” as to why they were even there.
Camden has also been subjected to both a physical and a mental health evaluation. From what the family has gathered, there are no concerns with the results, and no services have been ordered for Camden based on the results. However, social worker Katie Pyle reportedly stated to the Maples that she would like to see Camden do counseling at the school “just to make sure that he doesn’t have thoughts of harming himself.”
Their son is still not home. His siblings miss him and want to know when he is coming home.
“Why Doesn’t CPS Focus on Real Abuse?”
The Maples say that they haven’t done anything wrong. They could understand all this if they had abused their son, but they haven’t. Christian told Health Impact News:
“If someone is abusing their child, that is a crime. We have police in place for people who commit crimes. That is what the police department is for – to arrest people committing crimes. CPS is a duplicate police agency. If no crime is being committed, why do we need a government agency to come in to investigate families and remove children?”
Katie Maple made a statement that almost every family that has ever contacted Medical Kidnap has said to us:
“They [CPS] harass people who take care of their kids when they could be using their time more wisely and going after the people who actually DO abuse their children.”
Christian Maple is a big believer in the Constitution and individual rights, but says that when he asserted them, “they took them away.”
How You Can Help
Former Presidential candidate John Kasich is the governor of Ohio. He may be reached at (614) 466-3555 or contacted here.
Senator Steve Wilson serves the Maples’ district. He may be reached at (614) 466-9737, or contacted here.
Representative Paul Zeltwanger is the House Representative for their district. He may be reached at (614) 644-6027, or contacted here.
The family has a pre-trial hearing scheduled for Thursday, March 23, and an adjudication hearing on April 20. They have hired an attorney who has filed motions to have Camden returned home.
“There is nothing to stop this from happening to anyone.”