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Knox County Schools chief of security speaks about next year’s safety plans

Tuesday’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas has parents once again questioning their children’s safety at school.
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 6:58 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -Tuesday’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas has parents once again questioning their children’s safety at school.

WVLT reached out to Jason Periard, the Chief of Security for Knox County Schools, to find out about security improvements for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year. He said there will be new safety measures to help keep children safe, including a new type of intelligence security that will allow the school system to look at data to better plan out strategies, customized for each school.

“There’s a strategy that’s the right size for every school. We’re trying to be smarter and be more innovated we have leverage for our security so that we’re just not merely putting a bunch of people in one place, but we’re actually doing things smarter where the community can thrive and continue its’ teaching and feel safe. The intelligence security base basically allows us to put people in place ahead of time and also to deal with ongoing issues, instead of just merely reacting to things as they appear in the community,” said Periard.

Knox County Board of Education member Daniel Watson said the district has also approved school security officer (SSO) positions for their security force.

”In terms of Knox County’s budget, the approved budget for this coming year of 2023 is about $7.5 million. About $5 million of that is actually personnel costs for salaries and we did add 22 SSO positions in this coming budget. That gets us up to I think over 125 SSOs now, on our security force. So it was an addition of $1.4 million from our previous budget this year,” explained Watson.

The chief of security could not comment further on details about other safety tactics the school system will implement for the upcoming school year.

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