Tuesday, August 25, 2015


We're having a yellow jacket problem at my house. I just got stung for the second time in a week. So now all of us have been stung twice. I am already on a five-day course of steroids for the first one. I seem to have the worst reactions of the three of us.

Naturally I would tell anyone who might be considering coming to my house right now that we're having a yellow jacket problem. While we might say that dealing with them is a home maintenance issue, and we have acted responsibly in having the exterminator come out twice and treat the affected area, it's more than maintenance. Insect stings make some people very, very sick. They can be life-threatening.

So we would want to give you as much information as possible, so you could make an informed decision. Not too difficult a course of action, right? We care about our friends and neighbors and feel a sense of responsibility for their well-being.

In the same way, parents and other members of the Glenwood Middle School community feel that the school system had a responsibility to inform them of mold issues in the school. Mold in the school environment isn't really good for anyone, but it is particularly bad for some people with mold allergies. You would definitely want to give people as much information as possible so they could make an educated decision.

Except they didn't.

I believe, and I think most people believe, that the responsibility of the school system is to provide a safe environment for learning. In this case that would have been open and frequent communication about mold issues in the middle school. Failing that, once parents reached out, hcpss should have jumped into action to get the lines of communication open.

You may think that since the first day of school has come and gone, that this story is over. I'm not so sure. Parents are still waiting for written responses and documentation they have requested multiple times. And reports of mold at other Howard County Schools are beginning to surface.

In the meantime, I just thought you should know: we have a yellow jacket problem at my house. We thought we had completely remediated it, but it turns out we had gotten some bad advice. So we called a reputable exterminator and we are now working to move things in the right direction. But if you are allergic to yellow jacket stings, or just don't like them, I would strongly encourage you to send me an email or call me on the phone instead of stopping by.

Lesson of the day: when you don't handle things the right way the first time, they will inevitably come back to bite you. Ouch.




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