Knox Co. School Board discusses security

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Security at schools is a hot topic across the country, and it took center stage at a Knox County School Board work session tonight.

Many questions that all started with two schools with faulty security systems.

The audit from two years ago revealed that Hardin Valley Academy and Powell Middle had deficiencies in their systems.

That could be traced to the contractor at the time: Professional Security Consultants and Design (PSCD). Those flaws have been fixed, but it inspired concern about all the other schools.

Tonight, Superintendent Jim McIntyre told the board that the new contractor, SimplexGrinnell, surveyed and checked all schools this past summer, and fixed any problems.

However, with the details of the audit coming to light, the board is calling for schools to be checked again, especially HVA and PMS.

"I've got four kids in the system too. And I wanna make sure not just the schools they're in, but everybody's kids, that the systems are working as they should be," said Thomas Deakins, a member of the school board.

But the whole process would take months, so the board says a random sample needs to be examined.

Dr. McIntyre says they will discuss how to check the schools, and to settle the process in two weeks.

"Define a scope of that review, what it will look like, what it will cover, which schools will be in that sample, and what the expectations will be for that review," said Dr. McIntyre.

Knox County and the Public Building Authority have filed a lawsuit against PSCD because they did not deliver everything promised in the contract, not to mention the unsatisfactory work.

Schools Chief Security Officer Steve Griffin is on administrative leave while the schools investigate his relationship with PSCD. It's mainly to determine whether his ties to the company influenced the decision to award them the contract, since he was the one who recommended them.

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