Parent Threatened With Legal Action After Reporting a Dire Safety Problem to Folger McKinsey ES
Dennis Buettner, parent of 3 children at Folger McKinsey Elementary School was threatened with legal action by Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) after reporting what can only be described as a dire life and limb safety problem.
On or about March 6, 2013, Mr. Buettner dropped his children off at school and noticed what he considered a dire safety oversight in the design, rebuild and acceptance of Folger McKinsey Elementary School. “There is a circular drop off and pickup for children. There was a white arrow pointing straight (instead of left curve arrow) into the assembled humanity of children. There was an EMS “cut curb” which would launch an out of control or misdirected motor vehicle directly into the mass of children with less than 1 second to react.” stated Buettner. “I made a video explaining the problem and delivered it to the principal, Ms. Susan Bachmann, Principal of Folger McKinsey Elementary School. I was under the impression that the fix would be completed shortly. I fully expected temporary traffic safety equipment would be emplaced. This did not happen.” Mr. Buettner was informed that similar design with dire safety concerns was also at numerous other AACPS School locations and nothing happened “yet”. A safety bollard design which met all safety criteria was created by the architect of record and delivered to AACPS around June 25, 2013 and the installation was cancelled because it was not “welcoming”
On or about May 20, 2014, (over 450 days later) the problem has still not been fixed; even with temporary safety equipment. Mr. Buettner created a website called www.TrafficSafetyBollards.com to address the inaction. He asked if Ms. Pritchard from AACPS wanted to vet the password protected site for factual accuracy. Her response was to threaten him with legal action if he removed the password and made it public knowledge. [my read: if you do not shut up about this dire safety concern; AACPS will sue you.]
Mr. Buettner responded that he does not cower to any threat and that lawsuits were mean. Mr. Buettner also asked her, “Are you ethically allowed to threaten me with legal action for following through on an unanswered dire safety concern?” He also responded, “My thought to you is that you utilize the same threat of legal action to your people and have them immediately emplace temporary traffic safety equipment at FMES and the other similar designed dropoffs at AACPS to protect (if not life and limb) AACPS from any potential legal liability due to what might be considered “willful inaction” in a court of law.”
Special note: The website www.TrafficSafetyBollards.com and its elements including the team store does not IN ANY WAY represent itself to be affiliated with Anne Arundel County Public Schools.
Dennis Buettner is just a parent who saw a dire safety concern, reported it to AACPS and had the audacity to follow the fix through to completion. Buettner has over 40 years as member of different safety teams starting with being a school safety at Folger McKinsey Elementary School through his years in the U.S. Navy and the space industry.