Knox Board of Ed calls for a review of school security

12:58 AM, Feb 5, 2013   |    comments
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School security was a hot button issue at Monday night's Board of Education work session

The Knox County Board of Education is calling for a review of security in schools throughout the district.

School security was a hot button issue at Monday night's work session for the Knox County Board of Education, following recent news of a lawsuit filed by the county and the Public Building Authority (PBA) against a security contractor Professional Security Consultants and Design, or "PSCD"

At the meeting Monday night, Board members discussed an audit, which alleges questionable security work at Hardin Valley Academy and Powell Middle School.

Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre admitted his communication to the Board could have been better following the audit's release.

"I've said to the school board members that we had these deficiencies, but I did not provide them with a copy of the audit. If I had to do it again, I would do that," he said.

A different company, Simplex/Grinnell, now has the security contract with Knox County. Last summer, the company conducted a detailed review of all electronic security systems in Knox County Schools.

"Things like are all motion detectors working, are all sensors in place, is security panel functioning properly," listed Dr. McIntyre, when asked about what types of things checked during that kind of review.

Board members said they want the current contractor, to conduct a new, detailed review of all electronic security systems in the district.

"As a parent of four children in our system, I want to make sure all systems are working," said Thomas Deakins, who represents the Sixth District. "And I have faith that they are, but I think it would be good just to have that additional security."

Indya Kincannon, who represents the second district added, "I'm confident that our schools and monitoring systems are safe, but... because of this increased interest... we will do some kind of additional audit for peace of mind. For the board, for parents, for kids and staff."

During the next two weeks, the school district will create a plan detailing how to conduct such a review, including which schools in the district could be randomly sampled and what security systems will be tested.

Last week, Dr. McIntyre placed school security chief Steve Griffin on administrative leave. Griffin is now under investigation for his alleged personal relationship with the head of PSCD.

Monday night, McIntyre announced his intent to hire an outside lawyer, Ruth Ellis, to conduct an investigation into Chief Griffin's actions.

According to the school district, Ellis will start her investigation Tuesday.

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