Knox County Board of Training approves Knoxville’s new faculty safety settlement

The board voted not to allow the community to interfere. Several parents and students said they were upset with how the meeting went.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee – A new school safety agreement is now in place between schools in Knox County and the City of Knoxville.

This came months after the city announced it would stop and review the agreement amid public outcry after a KPD official shot and killed 17-year-old Anthony Thompson Jr. in the bathroom of Austin-East Magnet High School during an armed confrontation.

Under the new agreement, the Knoxville Police Department would continue to use SROs in schools as the Police Chief deems “appropriate”.

SROs would need to notify school principals as soon as possible before they could take law enforcement action

The agreement also added new wording about incidents involving children with special needs. SROs may only take action if this is requested by the client or his agent, unless there is an immediate risk of serious injury.

That language was added to the agreement after a KPD SRO handcuffed and dragged a 14-year-old student with autism in 2020.

Some parents of Knox County’s special education area students said they had questions after the new agreement was presented in June, but said the changes were a step in a positive direction.

However, some parents and students at the meeting on Wednesday said they were not satisfied with how things went.

“I’m pretty disappointed,” said Erin Keck, a parent of a child attending Knox County Schools.

After the new MOA was approved, the board voted not to allow the public to comment further on the new arrangement.

“I’m not surprised, but disappointed, because I have the feeling that the community keeps getting the message that the school authorities don’t want to hear anything from the district,” said Keck.

And parents like Keck say it’s best to stick with it.

“I feel like we’re moving backwards, but I think it’s important that the community read the articles and minutes of the meetings,” said Keck.


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