‘It’s a Huge Concern’: Why Has a Man Been Filming Outside a Washington Elementary School for a Month?

A man has been outside a Maple Valley, Wash., elementary school nearly every day for a month, taking video footage and beginning to alarm parents in the process.

The mother of a Lake Wilderness Elementary student, Cari Korpi, took matters into her own hands, confronting the then unidentified man in her own video about his unusual activity.

man filming outside school
Parents became concerned when they notice this man filming traffic outside an elementary school. (Image source: YouTube)

“So apparently this gentlemen has been out here at the school off and on for a month, almost everyday filming the buses and the traffic,” Korpi said in her video as she approached the man.

When Korpi reached the man and asked what he was doing, he put down his phone and began to walk away.

“Apparently you’ve been out here almost every day for a month filming our kids and the traffic and the school buses,” Korip said following the man. “Why are you out here doing that? Because it’s a huge concern for me and my kids’ safety at this school if you’re going to be out there filming our children,” Korpi said in the video.

man filming outside school
School officials said they don’t think the man, who has a child at the school but is not allowed on the property after using curse words with staff, is a threat to safety. Law enforcement also said the man has every right to film on public property as he is. (Image source: YouTube)

Although the man’s voice is muffled and difficult to hear in the video, KOMO-TV reported that he said, “It’s none of your business.”

Watch Korpi’s original footage, which has made it onto YouTube:

According to KOMO, a friend of Korpi, Cheryl Palmquist, posted this video on Facebook, which is where it began ringing more alarm bells with parents.

“The first thing that came to mind when I saw it was Sandy Hook,” Palmquist told KOMO. “And I thought, I don’t want to see anything like that happen to our school. We have to share this and get the word out there.”

There’s a reason the man has been standing there filming, though it’s still not necessarily comforting parents concerned about safety.

KOMO reported the school district identified the man as Dustin Girten, who was banned from school property after he “used abusive language” with staff, angered by traffic congestion at the school. Girten has children who attend Lake Wilderness Elementary.

Kevin Patterson, Tacoma School district’s public information officer, told the news station the school doesn’t think Girten is a safety threat.

parents worried about man filming
Parents attended a meeting at the school this week where officials answered their places about the situation. (Image source: KOMO-TV)

King County Sheriff Sgt. Cindy West also told KOMO Girten has the “right to be on public property” filming if he wants to.

Watch KOMO-TV’s report:

Since the local reports revealed the situation surrounding the man, Korpi wrote on Facebook that she and other parents have a new mission, in addition to monitoring student safety.

“As I said to the reporters we need to help resolve his beef with the school, offer any help we can, so he can move on, his kids can come to school feeling welcomed, etc. [and] prevent the issue from continuing or escalating as it has for months now,” Korpi wrote.

“Please rest easy knowing the right people are involved and say prayers for the man and his family that they can find peace in this matter,” Korpi wrote in a later post Wednesday.