A Tennessee parent was arrested last week after complaining about the student pick-up policy at his children's school.
Video of the incident, posted online Saturday, shows dad Jim Howe getting arrested for disorderly conduct at South Cumberland Elementary School. The footage, recorded by Howe's fiancée, had more than 110,000 views on YouTube as of Wednesday afternoon.
As explained in the clip, the school recently instituted a new pick-up policy that asks parents to wait in a line of cars before their children are released from school. Howe, however, felt the line of cars caused safety issues. (The video states the policy causes “traffic [to be] backed up over a mile on a busy highway.”) He walked into the school to pick up his children and speak out about the guidelines.
Howe appears composed throughout the video, as he calls the county sheriff to complain. However, the school resource officer, who according to local outlet WATE-TV is also a sheriff's deputy, seems agitated by both Howe’s desire to involve the sheriff and his continued grievances.
“I’m going to take you up to the jail,” school resource officer Avery Aytes tells Howe. “I’m telling you right now I’m not putting up with this today, you go ahead and record all your want … you’re being childish and it's uncalled for.”
“I’m not raising my voice, I’m not confrontational, I want my kids,” Howe tells the officer.
The video ends with Howe’s arrest.
However, some say the video doesn't tell the whole story. Donald Andrews, the director of Cumberland County Schools, told The Huffington Post the clip was edited to portray Howe in a more favorable light.
"In that situation, quite honestly, the officer that handled that showed quite a bit of restraint," he added.
Andrews said the school instituted the new policy as a safety precaution. He said officials were looking into working out the traffic issues.
“Previously, parents were coming out to pick up children, they were just getting out of cars and coming to school,” Andrews told HuffPost. “In this day in age, the PTO [parent teacher organization] was concerned that it was a safety issue, someone could come up and grab [any] kid.”
Andrews said the school is prepared to defend its actions in court.
“A lot of attention is being drawn because someone doesn’t want to follow rules and guidelines. I stand by the decision to [arrest Howe], we’ll get negative press but that’s OK if it's for the safety [and] well-being of our children,” he said.
(hat tip Boing Boing)
EARLIER ON HUFFPOST:
Start here, with the latest stories and news in progressive parenting. Learn more