MAPLE VALLEY — Cari Korpi drops her kids off at Lake Wilderness Elementary School every day, but Wednesday she noticed something unusual. There was a man standing on the sidewalk in front of the school shooting video with his cell phone. So she pulled out hers and confronted him.
In the video, he quickly turns away as Cari asks him what he is doing. The man says, “It’s none of your business, I’m on public property.”
“His reaction was a concern and he obviously did not want me to know anything about what he was doing,” said Korpi.
The Tahoma School District said, however, that the man is actually a parent of two Lake Wilderness Elementary School students who got into a dispute with school officials last year over crowding in the parking lot during pickup time.
“In conversations and meetings with him about the issues he was concerned about at the school, there were times he was using inappropriate language and it just reached the point we felt he did not need to be on this campus,” said district spokesman Kevin Patterson.
The district banned him from school property by issuing a one-year no trespass order that is in effect until next month. The King County Sheriff’s Office has also gotten complaints, but sheriff’s Sgt. Cindi West said the man was not arrested because he wasn’t doing anything wrong.
“People are saying, ‘Why don’t you arrest this guy, he seems creepy?’ Well, he hasn’t done anything and we can’t predict if he’s going to do anything. We have no indication of violence. Anger yes, but that doesn’t always equal violence,” West said.
Korpi is hoping the father with the cell phone camera stays away from the school and can resolve his dispute with the district without alarming any more parents.
“Unfortunately, this is a situation that can escalate because his background. That could be a huge threat. He’s part of this community so, if he’s having an issue, then how can we all work together to figure it out and resolve it,” said Korpi.
Parents say this man’s behavior at school over the past year has been concerning. The man does not have a criminal history. The school said it has increased security over the next few days but hope this situation calms down and they encourage parents not to confront the man.