KNOX COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Knox County Schools are preparing for the new year. Parents are heading out to buy school supplies. However, they can leave one big supply off that list, backpacks.
Knox County Public School’s Director of Communications and Governance, Frank Shelton, explains this is a safety precaution.
"For years we have been implementing various strategies for school safety. Shortly after sandy hook, our community came together and said we want metal detectors in our school districts,” says Shelton.
That was about seven years ago around that same time, Knox County Middle School saw how long it took for students to come through detectors and get their bags checked.
Shelton says, "In realizing all the backpacks coming through was taking a lot of time to process."
As many as 400 students would leave their backpacks here and come through a metal detector every morning before school.
"So over the summer Knox Central High School, our other high school in the district approached us about also doing a no backpack policy. So since we had Knox County Middle from six or seven years ago, Lynn Camp Middle/High from last year, and now Knox County High School for the upcoming year the board of education decided to go ahead and put that in policy,” says Frank.
School safety has been top of mind for leaders across the country -- especially with the recent shootings in Uvalde, Texas. This school district is looking to prevent incidents like that from happening here. While backpacks will not be allowed there are some exceptions.
Shelton shares, "An example is with athletics and overnight stays with our clubs and organizations."
Girls are also allowed to have small purses. This district's leaders say that most students have textbooks and Chromebooks that are used in class, each student is provided a locker for extra storage, and this school district is now providing students with school supplies. The goal is to
keep schools a safe space for learning.
"As you add more tools to your toolbox to try to keep your school safe, the safer it will become,” says Frank.
KNOX COUNTY SCHOOLS WILL NO LONGER ALLOW BACKPACKS IN MIDDLE OR HIGH SCHOOLS
Knox County Schools will no longer allow backpacks in middle or high schools