Knoxville parents discuss what safety and security in schools looks like to them

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Parents are sharing their thoughts on Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon’s request for a new agreement with the Knoxville Police Department.

Kincannon first released a letter sent to school board members Wednesday afternoon saying that she was withdrawing from the current MOA agreement with the Knoxville police department starting June 12.

This will not impact the current school year since KPD officers are not in schools during the summer. The hope is to come to a new agreement during the summer break so that officers can be back in schools come fall.

When it comes to security and safety in their kids’ schools, Nikki Harper Jenkins knows what she wants.

“We need to train the staff, train the students, we need crisis intervention, de-escalation strategies, youth development training,” Jenkins said. “They got officers in our schools and yet they don’t have any type of youth intervention training on how to deal with our kids.”

Other parents like Breyauna Holloway are okay with the idea of an updated MOA, but she definitely wants officers to stay in her kids’ school.

“I am in agreeance with KPD officers being in the schools. I remember from being a student at Austin-East 20 years ago we had school resource officers, we had officers from KPD and the sheriff’s offices the same way that they do now,” Holloway said.

There’s a chance KPD won’t be leaving Knox County schools — that is as long as a new MOA agreement is reached this summer.

There are currently 14 KPD officers assigned to Knox County Schools. There are 32 Knox County sheriff’s office deputies. The school system also has 93 school security officers or SSOs.

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