Tennessee dad Jim Howe was arrested for disorderly conduct while picking his children up from from school. Howe did not bring a weapon to the South Cumberland Elementary School, threaten anyone, or cause any type of scene, according to a video taken during the encounter. The father walked to the school and was told he would have to wait in a line of cars until all the students were released, even though he was on foot.
Jim Howe was arrested by South Cumberland Elementary School resource officer Avery Aytes. Howe’s fiancé recorded the entire incident, which included a 6-minute long conversation about the new school pickup policy. During the recorded exchange, the walking Tennessee father does not appear to make any type of threatening gesture or raise his voice significantly.
An excerpt from the Tennessee school arrest comments made by Howe reads:
“I’m not raising my voice, I’m not confrontational. I want my kids. I can’t stand in line [line of cars] I’m walking. Picking my kids up. School is out. My children are to be given to me.”
During the South Cumberland Elementary School resource officer Aytes told Jim Howe that he was “difficult” and “childish.” The parent was understandably upset because he wanted to pick his children up from school since the educational day was over.
School resource officer Aytest had this to say before placing Howe in handcuffs:
“School is out, they will give you your child, but it doesn’t say when, now does it?” Put your hands behind your back. I’m not staying here arguing with you. You’ve been disorderly. I’m going to call some help down here and we’re going to take you up to the jail right now.”
And just like that, simple school pick up turned into a cuffed and stuffed situation. According to the now viral video of the Tennessee Cumberland County School District arrest, the resource officer wanted Howe to sign a form to permit the children to walk unsupervised from school. The children are between the ages of 8 and 14 and are typically picked up by their parents.
The new school district pick up policy reportedly had traffic backed up over a mile away from the campus. To avoid the growing mound of traffic, Howe and his fiancé decided to just walk the short distance to school and pick up the kids that day. The Tennessee dad has recently contacted the county sheriff’s office to discuss the safety aspects to the new school pick up policy. The line of parents reportedly stretched along a busy highway, creating what many parents believed was a hazard for both them and school buses.
Before he was handcuffed, Howe cited Tennessee statute which reportedly states that children are to be released from school to their parents within a reasonable amount of time after the day ends, noting a 15-minute time frame. Howe asked the school resource officer politely if he could give the house keys to his fiancé so the woman would not be locked out of the home, and the officer refused. According to Howe’s typed comments at the end of the video, an incident with his special needs daughter last school year also caused him some concern. According to the Tennessee man, the girls was left crying in front of the class for more than an hour for an unspecified reason and was not allowed to call her parents. The alleged bullying incident which supposedly involved a school administrator was resolved without any legal action, that will apparently not be the case this time
Cumberland County Sheriff Butch Burgess stated during an interview with local news station WATE-TV that officer Aytes was merely doing his job and enforcing the law. But, the sheriff also noted that in principle, he also agrees with Jim Howe. “On the other hand, the school system needs to realize you can’t make a black and white law.”
Sheriff Burgess agreed that the new school pick up policy is prompting safety concerns due to the long line cars along the highway near the South Cumberland School District complex. Once the law enforcement official finishes reviewing the school pickup policy, he is going to recommend some changes to district administrators.
Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Donald Andrews defended both officer Aytes arrest of Jim Howe and the new pick up policy. Andrews stated all students that are deemed “walkers” are the last to be released from the school and placed in a “holding area.” Although the school administrator admitted he did not know what Tennessee state law said in relation to the release of children to parents at the end of the school day. “We aren’t running a dictatorship here,” the school official said when noting the district was willing to work with parents who have “special circumstances.”
After being released from jail, Jim Howe very reasonably stated, “You don’t need a reason as a parent to go get your children. They are our children.” During an interview with local news media the Tennessee dad also said, “If not for policy, we would have chaos, and we don’t need chaos at the school. But we also don’t need an over zealous deputy setting an example in front of kids.”
Jim Howe does not regret the stand he took that ultimately led to a ride in a police cruiser, according to his comments to The Blaze. The Tennessee father plans on fighting the disorderly conducts charges levied against him and considering filing a lawsuit over the arrest.
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