Some parents feel left out after Knox County Schools passes new MOA with Knoxville Police

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County Schools has a new agreement with Knoxville Police, keeping officers in schools come Aug. 9, but it’s how board members got to their decision that left some feeling their voices were not heard.

Reginald Jackson is a Knox County parent and says he would have preferred to have some kind of community involvement in the discussion about the Memorandum of Agreement.

“They certainly don’t care, because if they cared; through the speakers, through the tears of the children, they would have said let’s postpone this and get the community input,” Jackson said.

Austin-East students attended the meeting as well, speaking directly to Superintendent Bob Thomas about how they would have also liked to be included in the discussions before the vote.

Some school board members shared similar thoughts, wanting to give the community a voice.

District 3 Rep. Daniel Watson proposed a substitute motion to try again to get the board to commit to involving the community in future discussions about the MOA, but the motion fell short with a split vote of 4-4.

Wednesday’s vote means this new agreement does not include the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, so Knox County Schools will have two separate MOAs for the two law enforcement agencies.

The new MOA will stay in effect for one year, then it will be reviewed.

Here’s a timeline of all of the events surrounding the MOA leading up to the July 14 vote:

MAY 3: Representative Daniel Watson proposes a resolution to involve the community in discussions about the MOA. That’s the document that outlines the agreement between law enforcement and KCS. In short, it’s what puts security in schools.

MAY 5: Mayor Kincannon announces she is pulling KPD from the MOA with KCS.

MAY 12: Board votes against Watson’s resolution, but agrees to have more conversations about it.

MAY 19: The board has a special meeting to discuss alternative ways to go about the resolution proposed by Watson. They end up agreeing to have a facilitator come in and lead the community discussion.

JUNE 9: School board votes against hiring a facilitator to lead community discussions.

JUNE 24: Mayor Kincannon and Superintendent Bob Thomas agreed on a new proposed Memorandum of Agreement with KPD.

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