Tennessee dad arrested for attempting to pick up kids after school on foot
It’s a tragedy of wrong decisions and insecure personality, with a ridiculous result: In Cumberland County, Tennessee, a school district tried to deal with post-school traffic madness by imposing a rule that parents had to line up in their cars, stretching a half-mile, outside the school to pick up their kids in a presumably orderly fashion. They didn’t consider the possibility that any parent might want to bypass the line and pick up their kids on foot, basically because it is so rare.
So, when dad Jim Howe showed up on foot to retrieve his kids after school was out but before the line of cars had done its thing, he was told he had to wait in line like everybody else; never mind that he wasn’t driving a car. When Howe asked for his kids to be released to him, the deputy sheriff apparently took it as a challenge to his authority and, to make a long story short, handcuffed Howe and put him in the back of a law enforcement vehicle.
Writing in The Blaze, Jason Howerton reports:
“Cumberland County Sheriff Butch Burgess told WATE-TV [that Deputy] Aytes was only doing his job by ‘enforcing the law.’ However, the sheriff also said he agrees with the father on principle, saying the policy is creating safety concerns because it has created a line of cars along the highway outside of the school.
“Burgess said he is reviewing the policy and will make some recommendations this week as to what changes should be made to ensure student safety.
“Howe is outraged that he was arrested for trying to pick up his kids. He says he doesn’t need a reason to pick up his own kids from school.”
Howe’s fiancée filmed the episode and posted it on YouTube. It’s almost a parody of how things can go wrong when we insist on having a nation of essentially unwalkable schools:
- No child left outside (November 11, 2013)
- Why Johnny and Joanie still can't walk to school (July 25, 2013)
- Looking for a model of a walkable, green, community-serving school? Start here. (July 20, 2012)
- Making cities healthier (and livelier) with a 'walking school bus' and vitality makeover (November 1, 2011)
- Will EPA's guidelines help communities build walkable schools? (October 18, 2011)
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Kaid Benfield writes about community, development, and the environment on Switchboard and in the national media. For more posts, see his blog's home page. Kaid’s forthcoming book, People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities, will be released in January.
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