Foothills Christian Church Preschool in El Cajon, San Diego County was recently shut down by the California local government for rejecting the state's COVID mask mandate. But the church claims it is being targeted by state leaders, which is why pastors, politicians, and families took to the streets to protest the shut down.

According to the Christian Post, community members gathered outside Foothills Christian Church Preschool on Friday together with State Sen. Brian Jones, the city's Mayor Bill Wells and area pastors who protested the state's decision to shut down the school over its mandate not to require masks for children aged three to five years old. The state also suspended preschool director Tiffany McHugh from working with children.

California Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing shut down the preschool since December 10. The Christian school has had more than 100 children enrolled and has been operational for six years now. Moreover, David Hoffman, a senior pastor at the church alongside his brother Mark, revealed that the school even has a "waiting list" that is "so large that we were in the process of expanding our preschool."

Hoffman said that state representatives visited the Christian school more than 11 times in the last several months following a complaint from a parent. He lamented, "Several months ago, this church, this preschool became a target by the Department of Social Services. Basically, what it boils down to is they were not happy with how many of our children did not have masks on."

Hoffman claimed that the agency visited and "found a few other violations," which the school director addressed "in 24 hours," but that the state "kept coming back, 11 times," seven of which they spent the entire day at the school.

The pastor demanded to know "what they were doing all that time," alleging that the state was "looking through" their files "to try to find any violation they could."

Hoffman called it "harrassment" and "intimidation." He added that on three separate visits, state representatives interviewed children without their parents' consent. On November 15, the church was told it was "doing better," but on December 7, the church received a facility evaluation. The state alleged that the school had "disinfectants, cleaning solutions, poisons and other items that posed a danger to children."

The senior pastor explained that the incident was just one time that one of the teachers used a Clorox wipe to clean a table and that authorities said she did not lock the cabinet where it was stored. On December 10, a state representative and a law enforcement officer appeared to shut down the Christian school without prior notice to the families of the kids going there.

McHugh told CBS 8 that the Christian school was "going up against a lot of parents that don't want their children to be masked." Foothills Christian Church has filed an appeal for the suspension of their license. The appeal is scheduled for January 14.