A Tennessee father who was arrested last week while trying to pick his children up early from school says administrators cannot keep parents from getting their children before school is out.
Jim Howe and his fiancee, Amanda Long, went to South Cumberland Elementary in Crossville, Tenn., on Nov. 14 to pick up Howe’s two children shortly before school let out for the day, according to WATE.
A policy implemented two weeks ago requires parents who show up after 2 p.m. to wait in a line of cars until school gets out at 2:35 p.m.
Howe can be heard explaining in a YouTube video posted by the couple that they had walked to the school and should still be allowed to get the children, ages 8 and 14.
The video, filmed by Long, shows a confrontation between Howe and school resource officer Avery Aytes.
“I’m going to call some help down here and we’re going to take you up to the jail right now,” Aytes says at one point. “I’m not putting up with this today. You’re being childish and it’s uncalled for.”
Howe is shown saying, “I’m not raising my voice, I’m not confrontational, I want my kids.”
He and Aytes continue to argue over state law and the school’s policy until Aytes puts Howe into handcuffs, arresting him for disorderly conduct. Howe says on the video the officer is “opening (himself) up for a lawsuit” and that the policy creates a dangerous situation because the line of cars stretches down a busy street.
Cumberland County Sheriff Butch Burgess told WATE he agrees with Howe on principle — that the policy creates safety concerns — but that Howe should have taken his concerns to administrators, not Aytes.
“On the other hand, the school system needs to realize you can’t make a black-and-white law,” Burgess said.
Howe told Yahoo he is considering legal action.
“I didn’t intend to make a scene. But this is not about the policy,” he said. “It’s about stripping parental rights away. You go in to get your kids, you should be able to get your kids.”