A Tennessee father was hauled off to jail after he insisted on taking his son home from school on time, rather than waiting for another half an hour under a recently implemented school rule.
Jim Howe, father of two children enrolled in South Cumberland Elementary in Crossville, Tennessee, arrived at the school on foot at dismissal time: 2:00 PM. But a new school policy states that students may only leave at 2:00 PM if their parents are picking them up in cars. Walkers must wait until 2:35 PM.
Howe maintained that the policy was meant to apply to students walking home by themselves, not students walking home with their parents.
“You don’t need a reason as a parent to go get your children,” he told school officials.
Avery Aytes, a sheriff deputy and school resource officer, was on hand to prevent Howes from leaving with his kids. The encounter between the two was captured on video by Howes’s fiancee, Jennifer Long. When Howes insisted that the new policy was illegal, the officer threatened him with jail time.
“I’m going to call some help down here and we’re going to take you up to the jail right now,” said Aytes to Howes. “I’m not putting up with this today. You’re being childish and it’s uncalled for.”
Howes said he didn’t want to wait in the car line–and had not brought his car with him, in any case.
“You’re trying to be difficult,” insisted Aytes.
When Howes suggested that state law was on his side–and that he school had to release kids to him on time–Aytes handcuffed him and put him in a police car.
“I’m not standing here arguing with you, you’re disorderly,” said Aytes.
Irritated that Long was still recording, Aytes threatened to arrest her as well.
The school did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The sheriff’s office told an ABC local news channel that it believed Aytes acted responsibly.
“The resource officers are there to enforce the law,” said Cumberland County Sheriff Butch Burgess in a statement.
Burgess did agree with Howes, however, that the new pickup policy was causing chaos. The line of cars picking up kids is so long that it spills out along the highway, creating safety concerns.