Knox Co. coalition asks school board to temporarily remove police, deputies from schools

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County Education Coalition is calling on the Board of Education to remove all law enforcement from schools until new policies and procedures are adopted.

This coming after the death of Anthony Thompson Jr., who was armed when he was shot and killed at Austin-East Magnet High School by a Knoxville Police officer.

Along with student’s welfare being the top priority, the Education Coalition wants Knox Co. Schools to be able to certify every officer who enters a school is properly trained to work with children.

The coalition is a group of Knox County community leaders, educators and parents who have joined forces to promote “the best education and environment for our students.”

In addition to the Knox County Schools board and superintendent, the letter was sent to Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler, Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon, City of Knoxville Police Chief Eve Thomas, Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen.

In the letter, KCEC also calls for the removal of the Memorandum of Agreement between the school system and county/city law enforcement agencies. Saying that the MOA gives law enforcement license to enter KCS campuses and operate without constraint.

Below is a letter from the Knox Co. Education Coalition to the Knox Co. Board of Education:

“The Board owes Anthony Thompson’s family an apology for permitting poorly trained and
vetted officers to have free rein in our schools. It owes the whole community a thorough and
transparent investigation into what went wrong and explanation of what it is going to do so
that uniformed officers never again harm children whose parents have entrusted them to the
schools.

Until the schools can assure that every officer who steps on a school campus is thoroughly
vetted and properly trained, and until the Board has policies or procedures that put uniformed
officers completely under the control of school staff, the Board must direct KPD and KCSO to remove their officers from school campuses, except when explicitly asked to come on campus
by school officials.”

This quote from a letter by KCEC to the BOE

Knox County Board of Education will meet for a work session on May 5. The next regular meeting is May 12.

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