Knox Co. Schools superintendent, security chief speak day after officer-involved shooting at Austin-East

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Officials with Knox County Schools spoke again a day after an officer-involved shooting at Austin-East Magnet High School resulted in the death of one student.

Superintendent Bob Thomas, security chief Gus Paidousis, and KCS board member Evetty Satterfield held the media availability session to answer questions regarding the fatal shooting and issues going forward.

Superintendent Thomas offered his support to the Austin-East community and the Knoxville police officer who was injured in the shooting. He also addressed parental concern after many said they never received a notification about the shooting, and said the system could have done better.

“We probably should have done a better job letting families and the community know we were on lockdown. I certainly take responsibility for that; there was a lot of conflicting information at the time, but there was nothing that would have stopped us from letting people know that we were on lockdown at that time.”

KCS Superintendent Bob Thomas

Thomas also says he hopes the district can help offer counseling and other support to help these families moving forward.

The school system has added more security measures in the wake of previous shootings, including more cameras, more officers in the area, and more lighting.

Thomas did say the school system has talked about metal detectors, and security chief Paidousis chimed in to say that they are an option — whether a walk-through option or a handheld one.

“If you have a child every morning go through a metal detector, and then if the metal detector alerts on anything, that child empties their pockets and backpack. While there is some value, it does change the entire complexion of that school day and how that school day starts. We are talking about a lot of different options, metal detectors are a possibility, but there’s a lot of challenges.”

Security Chief Gus Paidousis

Paidousis says that their core mission is to develop healthy relationships with young people and that in terms of child protection there is never a finish line.

“We’ll continue to work every day in this city and county. Hundreds of people get up and their sole purpose is to be sure kids get to and from school safely. That mission will continually be reinforced.”

Security Chief Gus Paidousis

KCS board member Satterfield spoke directly to students regarding support and to seek out the teachers that are there for them.

“Your teachers will be there. They’ll be there waiting on you with their arms open wide. They’re there to love you, and put studies aside for the moment and take care of yourself and be there with your teachers.”

KCS board member Evetty Satterfield

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