Screenshot from YouTube video of Jim Howe being arrested for picking up his children on foot
A Tennessee father was arrested recently by an overzealous officer for picking his children up at school by foot. The school’s policy is that children can only be picked up by parents driving cars or kids can board a school bus.
Parents who wish to pick up their children on foot or by bike are apparently shit out of luck. Thankfully I don’t live in Cumberland County, Tennessee, because they would have a fight on their hands.
Jim Howe became concerned about the long line-up of cars that extended over a mile on a busy highway. So he decided to pick up his children by foot, and was told by the school to go back to his car and wait in line like everybody else.
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Here are the more compliant parents, waiting patiently in line to pick up their children:
Photo courtesy of Channel 6 WATE News Clip
Screenshot from YouTube video of Jim Howe being arrested
The school provided Howe a form to fill out that would permit his children to leave the school alone (his children are 8 years old and 14 years old), but they wouldn’t release his children to him until after the long line-up of cars was gone – to presumably encourage him to get his car and sit in line like a compliant sheep.
Here is the dialogue leading up to the arrest:
Officer: “Guess what. Guess what. It’s the rules. No we’re not going to argue about it”
Howe: “Here’s a rule, here’s a TCA code. School is out, my children are to be given to me. When school is out.”
Officer: “It don’t say when. They have, they have, they have, they have. No, no, no. School is out. They will give you your child, but it doesn’t say when now does it.”
Howe: “Tennessee state law says within a reasonable amount of time, that is 15 minutes.”
Officer: “Put your hands behind your back.”
Howe: “Okay, no problem. Go ahead. Opening yourself up for a lawsuit.”
Officer: “I’m not staying here arguing with you. Disorderly”
Howe: “That is fine with me”
After going outside, the officer scolds the cameraperson (presumably Howe’s partner) and threatens to arrest her if she doesn’t get out of the way of traffic.
Here is the full video:
Is this how far car culture has gone? It is depressing enough to see a long line-up of cars waiting to pick up children from school, but to prohibit parents from picking up their children on foot or by bike? This is beyond ludicrous.
Every time I witness such a sad spectacle, I reminisce on the lovely scene I witnessed in Amsterdam last year. When school is out, parents socialize in the school yard, and not a single parent pulled up a car to pick up their child.
Amsterdam school pick-ups – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country
This always revives my hope for the future of our society. But how much more enslaved by car culture will our society become before we start heading down a more rational, logical path, creating more healthy, liveable places to work, live and play.
James D. Schwartz is the Editor of The Urban Country and is based in Toronto, Canada. You can contact James at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter.