When you go to the Department of Education website, you will find all sorts of high-minded programs for shaping the course of education in the US, but nothing that explains why the DE is breaking down doors and searching homes.
Inquiring minds want to know. Where does this end?
STOCKTON, CA – After the Department of Education raided the home of a Stockton man Tuesday morning, officials said the search was part of an ongoing criminal investigation.
Kenneth Wright, after retaining a Sacramento lawyer, gave News10 the full original search warrant he was given by federal agents Tuesday.
An official with the U.S. Department of Education returned phone calls to News 10 Wednesday morning, saying the search warrant is part of a criminal investigation and not because of unpaid student financial aid loans.
However, the official would not say why the department is investigating the Wrights.
The resident, Kenneth Wright, does not have a criminal record and he had no reason to believe why what he thought was a S.W.A.T team would be breaking down his door at 6 in the morning.
"I look out of my window and I see 15 police officers," Wright said.
As Wright came downstairs in his boxer shorts, he said the officers barged through his front door. Wright said an officer grabbed him by the neck and led him outside on his front lawn.
"He had his knee on my back and I had no idea why they were there," Wright said.
According to Wright, officers also woke his three young children, ages 3, 7, and 11, and put them in a Stockton police patrol car with him. Officers then searched his house.
"They put me in handcuffs in that hot patrol car for six hours, traumatizing my kids," Wright said.
As it turned out, the person law enforcement was looking for – Wright's estranged wife – was not there.
Wright said he later went to Stockton Mayor Ann Johnston and Stockton Police Department, but learned the city of Stockton had nothing to do with the search warrant.
U.S. Department of Education spokesman Justin Hamilton confirmed for News10 Wednesday morning federal agents with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), not local S.W.A.T., served the search warrant. Hamilton would not say specifically why the raid took place except that it was part of an ongoing criminal investigation.
Hamilton said the search was not related to student loans in default as reported in the local media.
OIG is a semi-independent branch of the education department that executes warrants for criminal offenses such as student aid fraud, embezzlement of federal aid and bribery, according to Hamilton. The agency serves 30 to 35 search warrants a year.
"They busted down my door for this," Wright said. "It wasn't even me."
The Stockton Police Department said it was asked by federal agents to provide one officer and one patrol car just for a police presence when carrying out the search warrant.
Police officers did not participate in breaking Wright's door, handcuffing him, or searching his home.
"All I want is an apology for me and my kids and for them to get me a new door," Wright said.
A final note: On the Department of Education site there are numerous programs for telling local schools what they should teach and how and yet there is this interesting disclaimer at the top of the first page:
Please note that in the U.S., the federal role in education is limited. Because of the Tenth Amendment, most education policy is decided at the state and local levels. So, if you have a question about a policy or issue, you may want to check with the relevant organization in your state or school district.
Read more at: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/landing.jhtml
I think we need more Tenth Amendment and less Department of Education.