Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting called the police on me today for sitting in the PUBLIC LOBBY of the Townsend Building!
I will fully admit I was there toying with the idea of going to the Exceptional Children Resources Group office to ask a question about special education. I stopped by WaWa before that and picked up a copy of the Delaware State News. I wasn’t sold on the idea of talking to someone at the DOE given my constant criticism of that state agency so while I weighed my options I read the paper. At one point, Alison May, the Public Information Officer for the DOE walked by and I said hello to her as I sat in the PUBLIC LOBBY. Granted, I haven’t shaved in a few days and I was wearing a hat, but I’ve gone to the DOE unshaven before. It is the look of the hipster generation if they still call them that. I stepped outside and sat on the Green. I did think it was odd someone came around the corner and started taking tons of pictures and several in my direction. I decided to go back in and ask my question.
As I went back into the PUBLIC LOBBY of the Townsend Building, home of the Auditor of Accounts Office and the Delaware Department of Education, a Capital police officer asked for my name. I told him. He said to another officer, “That was the one they called about.” One officer asked if I could step outside. I obliged. He asked for my name and date of birth. The officer called in a “29” to make sure I wasn’t wanted. I wasn’t. I fully admitted I write a blog about Delaware education and I am very critical of the Delaware DOE. I asked if I did something wrong. He said they received a call that I looked “suspicious” because I was just sitting there.
The officer asked if I could wait a minute while he talked to the other officer. I sat back in my seat in the PUBLIC LOBBY and waited. The two officers went towards the Auditor of Accounts office. I waited about 5 minutes. They came out and I asked if I was free to go. They asked if I could wait. They took the elevator upstairs so I assumed they were now heading to the Delaware DOE. I waited ten minutes and decided to check the latest baseball scores and pre-season NFL stats. I checked my email and then called a friend.
Finally, the officers came back down and one of them gave me a thumbs up. I asked what that meant. He said I was free to go. I didn’t realize I wasn’t free at any point. I asked what the deal was. He explained someone called them because I was just sitting there and I looked “suspicious“. I asked if it was the DOE and the officer said, “Yeah, the Secretary is concerned about your behavior and blogging.” I found that to be very ironic because I’ve been VERY concerned about her behavior. I informed the officer there is no law against sitting in a public building. He said he told them that.
As I walked out, the officer was behind me and asked if I came in through the front door. I advised him, “Yes, I always come through that door.” He didn’t realize it was unlocked. I told him, “I always come through that door when I attend State Board of Education or other Delaware DOE public meetings.”
So, Dr. Susan Bunting… we are now at a crossroads. You decided, based on a Delaware citizen sitting in a public building with unlocked doors, that my behavior is suspicious. I didn’t approach any DOE offices during my time in the building. I said hello to your PIO. But that warrants you calling the police on me? Are you serious? I know I’ve been very critical of you in the past month. I believe I have good cause due to what I discovered that NOBODY in your office will talk about even though I have requested a response. But your paranoia puzzles me at this point. I’ve been in and out of that building more times than I can count. I saw you last week at the State Board of Education meeting. You didn’t call the Capital police on me there and I was in the belly of the beast. I could have been there for a multitude of reasons but you assumed I was there to do… what? I’m not sure what kind of statement you were trying to make. Was this some type of intimidation gesture? Put me in my place? I would ask for a public apology but it really isn’t worth it.
If I were in a suit and tie would I still have looked suspicious? This is Delaware. Get to close to the truth and all of a sudden they try to turn YOU into a bad guy. I swear, sometimes I think our state government is absolutely insane. All the corruption and lies and fraud that goes on. While they sit in their nice big taxpayer paid offices and throw transparency out the window. But God forbid someone tries to uncover all that corruption and lies and fraud.
And I do have a message for a certain statewide office candidate. It is ILLEGAL to have campaign material in a State of Delaware office building. I am not saying you put it up there, but whoever did, I strongly advise they take your campaign material off the bulletin board. Given all the campaign sign thefts, I wasn’t going to be the one to do it. Just an FYI!