Cumberland County officials defend deputy in viral video

Cumberland County officials defend deputy in viral video

Posted:
"I don't think that video or that parent is representative of what we have in Cumberland County," Tim Claflin, the security coordinator for Cumberland County Schools, said. "I don't think that video or that parent is representative of what we have in Cumberland County," Tim Claflin, the security coordinator for Cumberland County Schools, said.
Claflin, and other school officials including the superintendent, say there is more to the story than what the video shows. Claflin, and other school officials including the superintendent, say there is more to the story than what the video shows.
The family at the center of all this posted another video to YouTube, showing an earlier encounter. The family at the center of all this posted another video to YouTube, showing an earlier encounter.
"I wasn't doing anything to provoke this officer. I wasn't yelling and screaming. I wasn't being belligerent. There is not more to the story, except a blatant violation of civil rights," Howe said. "I wasn't doing anything to provoke this officer. I wasn't yelling and screaming. I wasn't being belligerent. There is not more to the story, except a blatant violation of civil rights," Howe said.

By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter

CROSSVILLE (WATE) - Cumberland County School officials are standing behind a school resource officer's actions shown in a viral video.

Cumberland County Sheriff's Deputy Avery Aytes arrested a dad at South Cumberland Elementary who tried to pick up his kids on foot, rather than wait in a long line of traffic after school.

Now, the story is getting attention across the country, and the school administrators have been getting lots of calls about it.

The family at the center of all this posted another video to YouTube, showing an earlier encounter.

"How about I can get my child right now, because my child is my child. I know that. Because it belongs to me. Because he's my responsibility," parent Jim Howe said in the video. 

"No, he's my responsibility. While he's on these grounds, he's my responsibility," Deputy Aytes said in the video, taken on Tuesday of last week.

Howe was arrested on Thursday when he tried again to pick his kids up by walking.

Some parents are claiming their rights are being violated by the new school pick-up policy. However, school officials say they changed the policy after parents approached them about problems with the old system. They say parents were given adequate notice, and not one parent complained to officials about the new policy before it took effect.

"I don't think that video or that parent is representative of what we have in Cumberland County," Tim Claflin, the security coordinator for Cumberland County Schools, said.

Claflin said he stands behind Aytes and his decision to arrest Howe for disorderly conduct.

"It's this unfortunate incident making him be portrayed as this big bad guy, and he's not. He's a good man," Claflin said about Aytes.

Claflin and other school officials, including the superintendent, say there is more to the story than what the video shows. He says Howe had been provoking deputy Aytes since the policy changed, but Howe said that's not the case.

"I wasn't doing anything to provoke this officer. I wasn't yelling and screaming. I wasn't being belligerent. There is not more to the story, except a blatant violation of civil rights," Howe said.

The new policy states parents must wait in a line of cars while their children are brought to them by school officials. Claflin said they made the change after the PTO complained of student safety, saying the old system was chaotic.

"I've had a few parents approach me about the new system and their comments, well it's been done this way for 30 years. Just because it's been done this way for 30 years doesn't mean it's right," Claflin said.

"I don't necessarily say it was chaotic at all. It worked pretty well, you were never out filming another parent over it before," Howe said.

Howe said he was told the new policy didn't allow for any exceptions, such as an afternoon appointment, but school officials say they will bend the rules if needed.

"We know emergencies do come up. It does happen. We're willing to work with those parents. We have in the past and will continue to do so," Claflin said.

School officials say the new system will take longer at first, and they're asking for parents to be patient. They did make a few changes Wednesday, including opening up more of the parking lot so fewer cars would be forced to wait along the highway next to the school.

Howe will be in court December 2, facing disorderly conduct charges.

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