Cumberland County school superintendent addresses viral video

Cumberland County school superintendent addresses viral video

Posted:
"I'm sure both parties will look back at this and regret that it happened. I regret that it happened and I wasn't even there," Superintendent Donald Andrews said. "I'm sure both parties will look back at this and regret that it happened. I regret that it happened and I wasn't even there," Superintendent Donald Andrews said.
Hundreds of thousands of people have now seen the video showing Jim Howe being arrested by Cumberland County Sheriff's Deputy Avery Aytes. (source YouTube) Hundreds of thousands of people have now seen the video showing Jim Howe being arrested by Cumberland County Sheriff's Deputy Avery Aytes. (source YouTube)

By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter

CROSSVILLE (WATE) - Cumberland County school officials are now offering clarification on their student pick-up policy that's sparking national attention.

This comes after a parent posted a video showing him being arrested while talking with a school resource officer about the new rules. The incident shown in the viral video happened at South Cumberland Elementary School in Cumberland County.

Hundreds of thousands of people have now seen the video showing Jim Howe being arrested by Cumberland County Sheriff's Deputy Avery Aytes.

6 News has been hearing from people on both sides from all over the country. Some are even offering to help pay Howe's court costs. Others say he should have been arrested because he wasn't following the school's rules.

The video was taken one week ago while Howe was trying to pick-up his two kids on foot. Because of new rules, students who are walking must wait until all other students are picked up. Cumberland County School Superintendent Donald Andrews says he thinks both men were out of line in the video.

"I'm sure both parties will look back at this and regret that it happened. I regret that it happened and I wasn't even there," Andrews said.

At the center of this debate, is the safety of the students and parental rights. The superintendent says contrary to what some people think, the school is making exceptions for emergency situations.

"No one's intent is to deprive any parent their right to be able to pick-up their child. They have that right. They will continue to have that right, because it's the law. But there are guidelines that are set that have to followed which ensure safety, and we don't make apologies for that," Andrews said.

Thomas Schubert, whose daughter goes to South Cumberland Elementary, says he was told by school officials that even if there is an appointment, students need to be picked up by 2 p.m., or parents must wait to get their child until school is dismissed at 2:35 p.m.

"I don't agree with that at all. Again, she's my child regardless of the school policy. She's my child. I should have the right to pick my child up any time I see fit," Schubert said.

South Cumberland Elementary is one of the last schools in the county to implement a pick-up policy like this. The superintendent says the location of this school next to a busy highway and only one entrance and exit make it extra difficult to ease traffic concerns.

Deputy Avery Aytes tells 6 News he can't comment because it's an open case. Jim Howe is scheduled to be in court December 2. He's charged with disorderly conduct. 

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