KNOX COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — The school year is beginning again in Knox County and students are returning without one traditional supply - bookbags. This is the newest policy Knox County Schools has put in place to keep schools safe.
Knox County Schools Public Relations Director, Frank Shelton, said, "It really did expedite them getting into the building this morning.”
Shelton said that it's been a very smooth first day of school so far, and security systems help ensure student safety.
"Secure school systems where you do have multiple layers of protection, keeping visitors out it's just one more way that you're keeping weapons out or anything that doesn't need to be in that building,” said Shelton.
Other ways this district is working to keep schools and students safe include metal detectors and the sheriff's office has seven school resource officers at each school and is working to train more.
Knox County Sheriff Mike Smith explained, "They go through specialized training for school resource officers. There's a series of classes for those individuals to take to specialize in school safety."
Local law enforcement work with the school district, providing teachers and administrators with active shooter training, best practices, and more. This is also the first year school buses have cameras. The district says it will work with law enforcement to track cars that aren't stopping around buses. When kids are traveling on buses the sheriff asks the community to be mindful.
"Be aware because kids can be darting across the roadway going in and out because you know, it's an exciting time for them, and just slow down," said Sheriff Smith.
Knox County School leaders say that their safety policies are only a part of what keeps students and staff safe. They say that it also takes community awareness.
Shelton said, "Anything that could endanger their child, the school we want to know."
These leaders believe that safe school systems help improve academics.
“Anytime that you have a learning climate that is promoting learning and any barriers to learning are removed academic success will follow,” says Shelton.
This school district is starting another school year with safety in mind.