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Vote fails to bring in facilitator to mediate school security talks in Knox County

Satterfield said right before the vote that a notable group in Knoxville offered to pay for the cost of this facilitator because it was a point of contention with some board members and Mayor Jacob
Published: Jun. 9, 2021 at 10:30 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 11:27 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -The memorandum of understanding between Knox County schools and the Knoxville Police Department expires in just three days on June 12th. Mayor Kincannon announced back in early May, that once that MOA expires, Knoxville police officers will be taken out of Knox County Schools.

Superintendent Bob Thomas says he’s spoken with Mayor Kincannon and they plan to talk again on Tuesday, June 14th about the possibility of KPD officers being involved with the school system. This is something that the superintendent and board of education has continued to believe is a possibility going into this school year.

Since early May, there have been continued talks of what to do for the coming school year when it comes to school security. Board member Daniel Watson proposed a community based approach that included open discussion in meetings. That vote did not pass, which brings us ultimately to where we are now in June.

Whether or not to include a facilitator when it comes to conversations about school security in Knox County. The role of a facilitator according to board members would be to gain community input, and bring those concerns and request to the board of education and mediate the conversation. This person would have been appointed by Bob Thomas and would have been funded using county tax dollars.

Despite the confidence in this motion passing in previous meetings from members like Daniel Watson, the vote failed Wednesday night with three for, three against, and two passing. Board members who voted ‘yes’ were Satterfield, Owen and Babb. Board members Henderson, Horn and McMillian all voted ‘no’, while Bounds and Kristy declined to vote.

Satterfield said right before the vote that a notable group in Knoxville offered to pay for the cost of this facilitator because it was a point of contention with some board members and Mayor Jacobs. That offer wasn’t good enough with a failing vote, and now the board doesn’t have another scheduled meeting until after the MOA expires.

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