Longtime Fayette deputy clashes with schools’ investigator

For Fayette County Sheriff’s Lt. Francis Cavender it was a March 20 residency check on his grandson by the Fayette County School System that he would not agree to.

Cavender’s refusal to allow the school system representative entrance into his home led to a complaint by Fayette County School System Pupil Personnel Services Director Barbara Serapion that as a member of law enforcement he should be punished.

But Cavender was not punished by his employer. Instead, he was exonerated for standing his ground and not relinquishing his constitutional rights.

For its part, the school system said the issue of a resident not wishing to comply with an affidavit can be handled on a case-by-case basis at the Welcome Center. And Serapion said she did not remember telling the sheriff’s investigator that she wanted Cavender punished.

A longtime officer with nearly 40 years in law enforcement, Cavender said he was preparing to go to his job at the Fayette County Justice Center when Fayette County School System social worker Eulene Paulk came to his door to conduct a residency check pertaining to his grandson’s residency. It was a residency check that Cavender refused to allow.

Paulk in a March 20 letter said she went to Cavender’s south Fayette County home at 6:45 p.m. on March 13 to verify the child’s residency and spoke with a man she believed was Cavender. She said the man was dressed in a sheriff’s deputy uniform that included a gun.

Paulk said Cavender raised his voice after she identified herself and her reason for being there, adding that he asked her if she had a warrant.

Paulk in the letter said she informed Cavender that the signed affidavit provided to the school system enabled her to visit the home to confirm the child’s residency.

Paulk said Cavender, who was still inside the doorway, again raised his voice, leaned toward her from inside the doorway and told her to leave his property. Paulk also noted that she felt very threatened and left immediately.

Commenting on the exchange, Cavender verified that he would not let her in his home and that he told her three times to leave his property. As for raising his voice, Cavender said he customarily talks loudly.

“It was an intrusion on my privacy. I think his (grandson’s) last name being Hispanic might have been a trigger for the residency visit. My wife swore (on the affidavit) that this is where he lives. He has always lived here,” Cavender said.

“But I changed my mind about (the affidavit). If they had probable cause or a proper search warrant then my door is open to them. But I think they were pretty much gathering evidence for a potential crime,” Cavender said.

The matter with the residency check did not end there. The situation took another turn when school system Pupil Personnel Services Director Barbara Serapion contacted the sheriff’s office about the home visit.

A March 20 report by Det. Aaron Fenimore noted that Serapion contacted the sheriff’s office to file a complaint against Cavender.

Fenimore in the report said he determined that, based upon court findings, a search of the premises was not authorized without all occupants giving consent. Since Cavender’s wife signed the affidavit but Cavender did not, that meant the affidavit was not binding, Fenimore said.

Fenimore in the report said Serapion took the issue a step further.

“I also established with Barbara Serapion that Lt. Cavender was not acting as a deputy sheriff at the time of the incident. The fact that he was in uniform does not mean he has to give up his 4th Amendment rights or even compel him to have a detailed conversation with the (school system) employee. Ms. Serapion told me that she would not make a complaint of this nature on a ‘normal citizen’ but since Lt. Cavender was a sheriff’s deputy she wanted him punished for not being professional,” the report said.

But having Cavender punished by his employer did not occur. Fenimore said that while Cavender appeared to have done as Paulk said, he was under no obligation to the school system and had every right given him as a citizen of the United States of America to tell Paulk to leave his property.

“Therefore, Lt. Cavender has been exonerated of the complaint against him,” Fenimore said.

Fenimore also noted that Sheriff Barry Babb had been notified about the visit and the comments from the school system.

School system Deputy Superintendent Sam Sweat on Monday noted that Cavender’s wife had signed the affidavit which states that she gave her voluntary consent to allow a school system representative to visit the home to verify residency.

“The affidavit gave us permission and the wife signed it. We expected (a visit) not to be a problem. We don’t do searches. We only wanted to verify residency,” Sweat said, adding that the school system has the capability to use a deputy at a residence if the situation warrants it. A deputy was not called to Cavender’s home.

Sweat said that a resident not wanting to comply with a residency affidavit should visit the Welcome Center where the issue will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Pertaining to Serapion’s position that Cavender be punished, Sweat said Serapion told him that she did not remember telling the investigator that Cavender should be punished.

“For us to pass judgment on law enforcement, and as a personnel issue, is not in our purview. I wouldn’t want the sheriff to tell me what to do with one of my employees and I wouldn’t want to tell him what to do with one of his,” Sweat said.

Sweat noted that Serapion did not contact him about the issue.

S. Lindsey
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Why you don't cooperate with CPS

‘I’M GOING TO GRAB YOUR BABY, AND DON’T RESIST’: COPS BARGE INTO CALI. PARENTS’ HOME, TAKE THEIR BABY AFTER THEY SEEK 2ND MEDICAL OPINION

"The next day police showed up at the Nikolayev’s home with representatives from Child Protective Services (CPS). Alex went outside to meet them, where he says he was “pushed against the building.” When he asked if he was being placed under arrest, he said they “smacked me down onto the ground [and] yelled out, ‘I think I got the keys to the house.’”

Seeing the scene outside, Anna set up a camera in front of her door.

Video shows police letting themselves in without a warrant, and taking the baby.

“I’m going to grab your baby, and don’t resist, and don’t fight me okay?” one officer can be heard telling the mother in the video."

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/04/29/im-going-to-grab-your-baby-an...

hutch866
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Lindsey

Apples and oranges in this case. Unless you think the county was verifying that the baby was going to a FC school. Different entities here.

S. Lindsey
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Hutch no.. not really comparing the two..

...just another example of the Nanny Government / Police State gone wild.

BEACHBUNNY
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In light of past home

In light of past home invasion history in FC, anyone banging on my door at 6:45am can expect to be met with a loaded firearm, sans deputy uniform. Apparently, Ms Serapion and Ms Paulk devised this amateur detective plan on their own. Makes one wonder if one of them perhaps has a personal "beef" with FC Sheriff Dept.

wildcat
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@beachbunny

I would guess that the school requested the check and I also would guess that the kid has a lot of tardies.

G35 Dude
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12 hours difference BeachBunny
Quote:

In light of past home invasion history in FC, anyone banging on my door at 6:45am can expect to be met with a loaded firearm, sans deputy uniform. Apparently, Ms Serapion and Ms Paulk devised this amateur detective plan on their own. Makes one wonder if one of them perhaps has a personal "beef" with FC Sheriff Dept.

Actually bunny, I think the story says that they showed up at 6:45PM not am.

Missy
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Out of county kids

The social worker must have had a reason to think the child did not live there or this would not have happened. If the child really lives there, why would they need an affidavit to enroll him? I personally am sick of paying for out of county kids...we have about 1000 in our schools now. It costs about $9000 per student to educate. Let's get rid of affidavits all together. They are nothing but trouble.

Spyglass
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Just show up where the kid really lives

That would interesting.

AtHomeGym
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Serapion & complaint

So why did she bypass her "chain of command' and go directly to theFCSD to lodge a omplaint?

Husband and Fat...
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Pretty Simple Approach

I wouldn't want to guess either way on this.

The man has almost 40 years of experience in law enforcement, so he knows better than to let someone into his home to inspect anything without a warrant.

The school should first ask the kid where he lives a few times to see if it is consistent.

If the answer is inconsistent or they want further proof, interview the neighbors.

If they say they never see the child, have the resource officer follow the kid home a few days.

Gather the evidence, then get the warrant to investigate the home unannounced.

Each of the schools should gather a list of suspects each year. Provide the list to the sheriff after gathering information on each suspect and let them inspect all at once. Sting Operation. If not found in compliance, pack them up and post the names in the paper of those harboring the illegal students. Require each to pay for the costs before you will release their records.

NUK_1
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No winners here

This situation doesn't appear to have been handled well by most of the people involved by any means.

I'm not a fan of Sam Sweat, but he is the only one who comes across as being a mature adult about this.

There are plenty of people in FC concerned about out of county students and falsified affidavits and I'm sure some volunteers would be happy to sit around Cavender's neighborhood and see if the kid really lives there or not.

I agree with Gilly Walker's solution too: can't prove residency so dis-enroll and then prove he actually lives there or admit you lied in your affidavit. I'd also suggest the BOE have both parent/guardians sign the affidavit in the future so this has less of a chance of happening in the future.

Not a fan of anyone in govt suddenly showing up at your door and wanting to verify anything, but there has been rightful concern about student residency or illegals and Mr. Cavender could have handled this a lot better. Sometimes being "right" or "justified" doesn't override basic common sense.

If it comes out the grandkid isn't really a full-time resident and then he blames his wife for signing the affidavit that he was, I'll be nauseated.

S. Lindsey
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Nuk No No and No again

From the complaint as stated she wanted to enter the home..the Deputy said no..now she wants him punished..

You do not give up your 4th Amendment Rights simply because it is Government knocking on your door.

If someone, anyone wants to enter your home without a warrant and they do not have permission just because an affidavit was signed it does not negate your Constitutional rights to refuse.

Funny how some will willingly force Government on others and overlook the Constitution when it's their cause that is brought up.

So the answer is punish the child because the Deputy invoked his rights... WOW.

Gilly Walker
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Simple Solution

The FCBOE should withdraw the child from the school as residency can't be verified and then, let the good Deptuty answer to his wife when the kid has to go back to whatever county/system he came from......

Spyglass
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On the surface

he sure made it seem that the Grandson did not live where they claimed. I sure hope that is not the case.

highflyer2
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Hard to believe

I have known Mr. Cavendar for many years and have always thought of him to be a very soft spoken man. This lady is Obviously lying by saying that he raised his voice! Kudos' for him standing his ground and kudos for the Sheriffs Dept. having the balls to investigate their own employee and not get the yard sale sign people ( I mean the Marshals Office ) involved in it!

stranger than f...
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What's good for the goose is good for the gander

Interesting that our conservative lawmakers and law enforcement agencies have no problem requiring someone who looks Hispanic to provide every form of identification known to man just in order to breath in this state. However a sheriff's deputy can't be bothered to open his door and prove residency for an out-of-county school child.

It's a slippery slope indeed!

rmoc
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I agree Deputy seems to be hiding something

I am disappointed that the Deputy thinks he is above the law. He should be supporting the investigation of out-of-district students. Sounds like he is hiding behind his badge.

AtHomeGym
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STF & Residency

Why do you think the child is an"out of county" child? Did you even wonder why, deep in the school year, someone prompted that social worker to visit the home? If the Lt's wife signed an affadavit that the child was a resident, why is there doubt? Do you not value the privacy of your home? Why not call ahead and arrange a time agreeable to all? I call "much ado about not much".

rmoc
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If there is warning they can prepare to hide the facts

If they had time then they had time to prepare the home to look like the kid lived there. If you were a drug dealer and they called to set up an agreeable time to serve a warrant wouldn't your home be perfectly legal..Give me a break..

S. Lindsey
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AHG agreed

There are better ways this could have been done instead of showing up and demanding entry.

Some here want to punish the child.. Some here want to "look the other way" on the Constitution as long as it is important to THEIR beliefs or cause.

Now they can ask for permission and set a time and they can verify it the right way instead of putting on those Jack Boots and marching right along...

stranger than f...
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To be consistent...

Then to be consistent, does that mean that anyone stopped by the police for driving while being Hispanic should not offer ID to prove he is here legally? Would an Hispanic be justified in not allowing any law enforcement officer into his house to check his papers without a valid search warrant?

The immigration bill that our esteemed local state legislator (Matt Ramsey) authored recently gives the state broad powers to question people whom they merely believe to be in the USA illegally. Few seem to mind the Jack Boots in these cases.

I think we are on the same side in this debate. I am concerned about government intrusion into our private lives just as you are. I wish our conservative legislators were as concerned about Constitutional freedoms as are you and I.

NUK_1
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SL: Yeah there were better ways to handle this

That's why I said no winners here in my original post. I think about everyone involved handled what should be a routine situation pretty poorly.

No, the "govt" doesn't have a right to come into your home without cause(or a warrant). No, you don't have the right to lie on an affidavit about where a child happens to live almost the entire year in order to leech off of the FC school system and to also sign an affidavit stating something that is completely false and also volunteering to having to prove it.

You have conflicting rights in this situation and the story is still incomplete at this time. The Deputy has every right to not allow entry and the school system also has every right to not allow the child to be in this particular school system for that matter.

I'll wait until more facts are known before commenting further on this one.

NUK_1
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AHG: Huh?
AtHomeGym wrote:

Why do you think the child is an"out of county" child? Did you even wonder why, deep in the school year, someone prompted that social worker to visit the home? If the Lt's wife signed an affadavit that the child was a resident, why is there doubt?

Uh, seriously? You mean that everyone who signs that affidavit for FC schools is being honest? I don't think so.

As far as why the school decided to send someone over, I have no idea. Kids tend to talk to other kids and maybe word got around to someone's parents that the kid told another kid he didn't really live in FC. I don't know, but I have serious doubts at this point about his residency.

wildcat
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Wouldn't let the social worker in?

Hmmm....why would he do that? The most obvious reason is that he has something to hide. I wonder how many other "affidavit" people refuse to let the social worker in? Hey...why doesn't everybody who has relatives that want to attend FC schools just sign an affidavit and come on in? If everyone follows Mr. Cavender's lead of refusing to let the social worker in to verify (after all they don't have to give up their 4th Amendment rights), then our numbers will swell and we can reopen the closed schools. Woohoo. Maybe it is time to stop the practice of using an affidavit to attend FC schools?

suggarfoot
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stop the practice of using an affidavit to attend FC schools

"Maybe it is time to stop the practice of using an affidavit to attend FC schools?"

Yep, real easy way to fill the schools back up. Real classy on the officer's part (not)

suggarfoot
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I would have to agree wildcat

I don't think the kid lives there. It is wrong to not let them verify if the kid lives there. I would throw the kid out of the school system if I couldn't verify he lived in the county. By letting this guy get away with this, it will give others with kids that don't live here an out.

Law enforcement should not be above the law. I think this stinks.

S. Lindsey
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NEVER allow a Social Worker into your home EVER...

...unless they are accompanied by Law-Enforcement and a Warrant.

Once you voluntarily allow them in anything they see can be used against you. Maybe the house isn't clean enough, or there is a "dangerous" dog inside or ***gasp*** a gun cabinet.. anything can be used against you.

At least if they get a warrant for a "Residency" check it is specific and they are limited to the scope of the warrant.

Unless there is a Child endangerment issue they won't get one so...

The Schools have NO right to enter your property without permission no matter what paper was signed.. You can give permission to enter and then revoke that permission ANY TIME and that person must leave. She wanted him PUNISHED for refusal... sounds like someone who is pretty full of herself and petty power.

Good for the Deputy for standing up for his rights.

rolling stone
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I agree with you S. Lindsey

No admittance without a warrant for any reason, period. Not wanting someone to see the inside of your home and having something to hide are two entirely different things: one is your right while the other is speculation. I also suspect an ulterior motive to this unannounced visit.

S. Lindsey
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Stone there are things we shall never agree on...BUT...

... there are those things that we shall..

Going to relate a personal story of why you never cooperate with these people.

My Niece when she was in the 7th grade was asked by her Teacher if they knew what Corporal punishment was...then she asked who has ever been spanked. All those that raised their hands was asked to see the Teacher after class.

Durng that "interview" my Niece, who has always been a bit of an exaggerator..while being given cookies related the story of beatings for not cleaning her room, or washing dishes or ****gasp*** helping to clean the house.

A School Social Worker showed up at the house and threatened if they did not cooperate she would come back with the police.

Her Mother decided to allow her in..

Her are the exact quotes from the report.

1. Home was observed to be dirty and unkempt.. only thing cited was Dishes in the sink.

2. Parents permitted the abuse of Animals... Mounted Deer heads in home.

3. Parents promoted abusive behavior... There was a gun cabinet with two guns in it.

4. Parents promoted the belief in Myths and Legends. (exact quote) Bible was observed in home and religious dogma and mythical icons (cross) observed.

There were a few more but you get the tone of it.. The end results they got an "order" from a judge without a hearing that required them to "SUBMIT" to monthly inspections... monthly parental classes and was given an order to have all guns removed from the home..

They tried to fight it but an attorney cost thousands that they did not have.

One year later they finally got the approval that they had been reeducated enough to be a parents...

They were told that consent had been given and could not be revoked.. Consent was given by the Wife/Mother on the initial visit and she signed a consent form... at no time were they told they could revoke it.

The Attorney they went to.. said from the beginning their first mistake was allowing the Social Worker to come in without a warrant... or Court Order.

Doesn't matter the reason folks.. Contrary to popular belief Government is not here to help.

PTC Observer
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Lindsey

Orwellian

S. Lindsey
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PTCO oh there was more..

...so much more but I just hit the hi or low lites as it where...

btw- that daughter who saw Government push her parents around and she could do anything while they were under threat of Government.. ended up quitting School... getting pregnant and is now a PROUD leech on Society..

She is now getting disability and every other kind of assistance because of her DOCUMENTED abuse...

So they created a reliable Democrat...

wildcat
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@ slindsey

And yet my daughter had a totally different experience. She (and the granddaughters) lived with her mother-in-law while her husband was in Iraq. The girls attended Peeples. A deputy came to the house to verify residency saw all 4 of the items you noted in your post as he looked through the house, talked to those inside and left. He did not have a search warrant. Residency was verified.

S. Lindsey
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Wildcat...

...like most things people are different too.

No one enters my home without permission. Period...

Aztecgirl
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Difference between searching a home and verifying residency?

Why not tell Barbara Sarapion to come back at a later time to talk to his grandson when he's at home and verify the residency then? Why make such a big deal about it and get all pissy unless there is something to hide? With all of the out of county kids in our schools and NOTHING ever getting done about it, it's about time the home checks are being done. I wouldn't put it past police officers, coaches, school officials or anyone else falsifying affidavits. I also agree with getting rid of affidavits altogether.

Aztecgirl
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I see that it wasn't Serapion

I see that it wasn't Serapion visiting the residence. Does one have to enter a home to do a residency check? I wouldn't think so, I would think an interview with the student in question and the parents/ guardians would be sufficient. I agree in not letting a social worker into my home, as well..

MajorMike
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S. Lindsey and AHG

You two guys are the only two that got it right in this thread. Francis C. behaved in a reasonable and totally legal manner. I would expect nothing less from him.

I do have a question though. Is a school compliance officer a state licensed social worker? I also wonder if it is still verboten for school officials to investigate anyone who declares themselves to be homeless. It was three years ago according to one school principal (at the time).

S. Lindsey
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Major...

...I am not sure about the licensed part. Either way NO ONE enters my home without a warrant or permission period.

My Sister in Law made that mistake one time... and she has regretted it ever since.

MajorMike
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S. Lindsey - I totally agree.

I totally agree.

highflyer2
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This is

SO COOL when the doo doo isn't being thrown my way! Sure wish I had some popcorn :)