MEMORANDUM to Dr. Miguel Cardona; Secretary of Education, US Department of Education

M E M O R A N D U M

Date: 10 MAY 2021

From: Michael J. Merritt
PO BOX 294
Newton, IA 50208
(641)-840-9916

To: Dr. Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Education
U.S. Department of Education
Student Privacy Policy Office
400 Maryland Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20202-8520

Info: Office of the Governor, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte
PO Box 200801
Helena, MT 59620-0801

Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Montana
Superintendent Elsie Arntzen
SUPERINTENDENT’S OFFICE
P.O. Box 202501,
Helena, MT 59620-2501

Office of the Attorney General, Montana Austin Knudsen, Montana Attorney
215 N Sanders St.
Helena, MT 59601

Lance Isaac, Board Chair, Kalispell School District
233 1st Avenue East,
Kalispell, MT 59901
406-751-3400

Law Offices of Colleen A. Warren, APC
3530 Camino del Rio North
Suite 202
San Diego, CA 92108
858-275-2810

References: US CFR – Title 34: Education; Part 99–Family Education Rights and Privacy; Subpart B–What Are the Rights of Inspection and Review of Education Records?;
§99.10 What rights exist for a parent or eligible student to inspect and review education records?

US CFR – Title 34: Education; Part 99–Family Education Rights and Privacy; Subpart B–What Are the Rights of Inspection and Review of Education Records?;
§99.12 What limitations exist on the right to inspect and review records?

Enclosures: MEMORANDUM to Superintendent Elsie Arntzen, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Montana
MEMORANDUM to Principal Paine; Flathead High School, Kalispell, MT
MEMORANDUM to Assistant Principal Peck, Whitefish High School; Whitefish, MT
EVIDENTIARY DECLARATION TO SUPPORT EX PARTE REQUEST FOR 07 MAY 2021 COURT DATE

Subject: School Education Records Request – ***** ** *******/** *** **** – ******* ** *******/** *** **** – FERPA Help desk Case: #33245

I want to open this memorandum by thanking you for taking the time to read its contents. I am providing evidence and testimony of what I believe is a breakdown of operational execution of procedure regarding Federal Law as well as the enabling and failure to report child abuse that I brought to the attention of educational faculty of subordinate districts within Montana’s Department of Public Education administered by Honorable Elsie Arntzen.

Since August of 2017, when I returned to the United States from an 18-month overseas tour in Bahrain after retiring from the United States Navy, I have dealt with child concealment/abduction and numerous failures of government agency’s handling of this situation. I will be following up on this correspondence regarding failures to enforce Education Code in California in this situation involving the movement of children through three states without the knowledge or authorization of San Diego East County Court or any party to court case ED100465.

Other than the loss of my children, my greatest disappointment has been the resistance I have received from local and state agencies concerning their compliance with federal law. I have included correspondence showing a historical record of a failure to report abuse towards two children within Flathead County, Montana that has been ongoing for nearly a year with no known or confirmed action taken as well as one school district (Whitefish Schools) within the state of Montana’s resistance to adhering to the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and one school districts refusal (Kalispell Public Schools) regarding the distribution of requested school records to an authorized parent.

I still have not received my children’s school records. I have requested a court order originating from the 07 MAY 2021 Evidentiary Declaration to San Diego East County Court and issued by Honorable Judge Miller on 07 MAY 2021. This order was in response to my referencing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA 1974) after my children’s lawyer, who is licensed to practice law in the state of California, recommended to the court that I route a subpoena and hope for the best as these schools are not in the same state as the court issuing the subpoena. This recommendation by Minor’s Counsel Warren in court shows either no knowledge of Federal Law or no concern to her responsibility for the best interests of her clients regarding child concealment and other forms of abuse that she has allowed perpetuating towards her clients since 28 FEB 2020.

The Department of Education began operations on 04 MAY 1980 when the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare was separated into independent departments. This would indicate a desire by the federal government for more precise leadership, accountability, and resource management. Why, 40 years later and nearly half a century after the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act became law, are their local school districts that are not properly following it? Why are local districts in the State of Montana attempting to insert their perceived authority that the law does not support on a civil matter that is ongoing in another state? Under the leadership of Mr. Micah Hill, Flathead High School should have released my children’s school records within 45 days upon the receipt of the same birth certificates from myself that were used to register them. Kalispell Public Schools and Flathead High School should have taken the testimony of abuse and evidence they had of child concealment (due to the father not being included in the registration) and reported it to the proper authorities. If a school or its district have received no court documents from the custodial parent indicating a court has ordered that the other parent does not have rights to their children, what right or authority does a school’s Principal, a district’s Superintendent or a school board’s chairman have to deny a father his right to be a part of his children’s lives and education that a custodial parent denies him while breaking the law?

Honorable Dr. Miguel Cardona, I respectfully submit to you as our nation’s leader of Education while managing, developing, and executing programs that build and measure the minds of our nation’s future:

-Why are faculty of school districts not properly reporting abuse of the organ (brain) that your department is responsible for developing according to local state law?

-Why are faculty of school districts not reporting possible child abuse/concealment when a father communicates his children are being concealed while presenting birth certificates when he was not included in a student’s registration?

-Why did Whitefish High School of Montana follow the FERPA (1974), but a district in the same county (Kalispell Public Schools) militantly refused. When documenting inconsistencies like this regarding following Federal law within a state, this reflects upon the leadership of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Montana. In the United States Navy, if a ship runs aground, the Commanding Officer is dismissed. Does this situation not warrant a full investigation of the Montana Department of Public instruction to ascertain if it has run aground based upon the inconsistencies of execution regarding adherence to federal law and state requirements for child abuse reporting?

How many more districts in the state of Montana are withholding school records from parents and not reporting abuse brought to their attention in accordance with state law due to ineffective training, program management, and policy execution by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Montana.

I want to thank you for your time listening to my concerns. I look forward to your department’s feedback, and I trust that corrections will be made within the educational operations of the state of Montana. Every great civilization fell due to a failure to fix cracks in its foundation. I believe it is a fair statement to say that as American’s we are seeing cracks in our foundation they are reported daily in our national news. If we do not properly maintain the department that builds our future it will only threaten our ability to compete globally economically and maintain our sovereignty politically.

Very Respectfully,

Michael J. Merritt

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