A Tennessee father protesting what he thinks is an illogical and unsafe rule requiring parents to wait inside their cars in traffic stretching more than a mile onto a busy highway to pick up their kids from the South Cumberland Elementary School was arrested two weeks ago by a local sheriff for breaking that rule when he walked into the school to pick up his children.
A viral YouTube video of the Nov. 14 incident posted by HoweMotorsports on Nov. 16, explains what caused the incident between the father, identified in reports as Jim Howe, and arresting officer Avery Aytes.
According to the rules, students at the school can only be released to parents in cars or sent home on the school bus. They are not allowed to walk home with their parents. Before he was arrested, however, Howe had signed a special form at the school giving his children, aged 8 to 14, permission to walk home with him.
"The school and officer wanted us to sign a form to allow our kids to walk (unsupervised) they are 8-14 we normally pick them up. But now the new pick up arrangement has traffic backed up over a mile on a busy highway," noted the narrative in the video.
"We elected to walk and pick them up on this day rather than be in the mass confusion," he continued.
"The officer asked us to come inside the office and began his tantrum, because I had called the Sherriff about the safety of this new policy."
The video from the incident then shows Howe insisting to Aytes: "They're walking with me when school is dismissed."
Aytes responded: "No, they're not."
Both men then continue the discussion over the rules until the officer annoyed by Howe's disobedience, threatens him with jail.
How tells him to go ahead and jail him if he liked but warned him that he should be prepared for an ensuing lawsuit.
The officer eventually arrested Howe and charged him with disorderly conduct.
According to a GoFundMe page seeking to raise funds for Howe's defense, he has since retained a lawyer and is scheduled to appear in court to answer to the charges next Monday.
He has also been getting a lot of support.
"Walking is a basic human and civil right, just like speech. Please continue to fight this and keep us informed on how it goes," wrote Eileen McCarthy on the GoFundMe page.
"Can't wait to see what the final outcome will be. If the parents take a stand it will help. Plus I might be wrong but if the kids have to walk to their mom and dad's cars. What's to say someone don't just park there and take someone's kids. I see so many safety issues with this. The cop needs to be fired," wrote Chris Waite on the YouTube video.
"Tip for cops: don't start an argument, lose said argument, then arrest someone for DisCon when you get tired of making yourself look like an a** in front of a video camera. Your job is to enforce the LAW, not school rules," added Lester Wilson.