Knox County Schools on Friday announced new security measures that are being implemented to enhance student safety in the 2022-23 academic year. At a news conference at Pleasant Ridge Elementary School, Superintendent Jon Rysewyk and Security Division Chief Jason Periard said KCS has launched the “Safe Schools, Safe Students” initiative, a series of actions designed to provide a safe learning environment for students and staff.
Rysewyk said KCS has asked the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and Knoxville Police Department to provide an annual audit of the district’s safety plan and every school’s safety plan. The district will also take steps to increase its recruitment of military veterans as School Security Officers (SSOs).
Other steps include:
- An anonymous tip line that will be monitored seven days a week
- Upgraded body cameras for school security officers
- An integrated visitor screening system
- Upgraded video surveillance capabilities throughout the district.
This year, the Board of Education, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and Knox County Commission approved $4.7 million in additional funding for school security. This funding will allow the district to add 22 positions to the Security Division, and KCS officials are working to recruit and retain outstanding SSOs. Rysewyk said the recently created Talent Acquisition team will focus on actively increasing the district’s recruitment of military veterans, and he is proposing an extension of paid military leave that would provide up to 30 days of military leave time for SSOs or other employees who are serving as reservists.
Josh Flory is a multi-media specialist with Knox County Schools and writes this blog, Hall Pass, for the KCS website.