KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knox County Schools security officers reported that they found nine weapons on campuses this school year, a district spokesperson said.
State law requires districts to report "serious incidents" affecting school security. Weapon possession is one of them. Others include assault, sexual assault and attempted homicide.
In previous years, Knox County reported hundreds of serious incidents to the state. In the 2020-2021 school year, it reported 307 incidents. Spring Hill Elementary reported the most — 27 incidents.
Emerald Academy also reported 29 incidents, but the school is not technically a part of the Knox County Schools system.
In previous years, the district as a whole reported 448, 517, 469 and 351 incidents respectively.
Other districts in East Tennessee reported far fewer incidents. Sevier County reported 13 serious incidents across the district last school year, 35 the year before and 18 the year before that.
Blount County Schools reported an average of 36 incidents per year over the past 5 years. Hamblen County Schools reported an average of 10 incidents per year over the past five years.
State law dictates reporting requirements, but it is not clear that all districts follow the same protocol to keep track of "serious incidents."
See the school-by-school breakdown of "serious incidents" for the 2020-2021 school year here.
"I think the schools and security division [review] every incident that takes place -- be it big or small --even with those smaller incidents that you referred to that are reported. That happens with those," said Knox County School Board Chair Kristi Kristy.
Kristy said every school in the district has a security plan, but can't share all the details for fear of compromising safety measures. "We have people in our schools every day. Every school, every day," she said.
In addition, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs proposed funding to hire 22 additional school security officers in his upcoming budget.