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2012 Knox Schools security review not comprehensive

7:12 PM, Feb 15, 2013   |    comments
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We are learning more about the state of security in Knox County Schools; after-hours alarm systems are working at every building in the district according reports 10News was able to review on Friday. But, we still don't know much about the state of its video surveillance systems or fire alarms.

This comes two weeks after 10News learned about a lawsuit over security lapses at Powell Middle School and Hardin Valley Academy, and asked to look at reports from a district-wide review done in 2012. On Friday, the district clarified that review only included burglar alarms and it made the documents available to us for inspection.

10News has now requested to view inspection reports from video surveillance and fire alarm systems. It is unclear when the district will have those ready for us to review; staff will have to go through them and make redactions for security reasons.

New security contractor "SimplexGrinnell" tested after-hours alarm systems in 106 in Knox County Schools buildings. They occurred between March and September of 2012. Inspectors identified problems ranging from one motion detector not working to entire alarm systems needing to be replaced.

The review identified 20 buildings that had no problems at all, including having old equipment removed. The contractor removed old equipment, such as motion detectors, keypads, and door signals for the alarms, from the other 86 buildings because it wasn't being used by current systems.

Test results on 27 buildings show some sort of system failure. In most cases that meant between one and four motion detectors were not working. In other cases, the main system control quit working when batteries, which are supposed to provide back-up power, were removed.

The entire alarm system at Lonsdale Elementary was unresponsive during its test. Inspectors determined the phone line that makes it work was dead.

The contractor also recommended complete new systems in both the cafeteria and main buildings at West Valley Middle School and North West Middle School.

As 10News has previously reported, all non-working alarm equipment has already been repaired or replaced.

A memo sent to school board members on February 8 from Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre further clarifies that security in Knox County Schools also includes video monitoring, fire protection, sprinkler and lock systems. All of those are inspected on a regular basis except for keys and locks. The district relies on users to report malfunctions to the maintenance department.


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