Teachers with a gun permit will be allowed to carry their weapons on campus in one Oregon school district, thanks to the election of pro-gun school board members who believe in the right of self-protection.
“The current law in Oregon allows for anybody to concealed carry on school grounds,” St. Helens School Board Chairman Marshall Porter said in a statement, according to local ABC affiliate KATU-TV.
“To exclude our staff seems like they’re being punished. They should have a right to protect themselves if they so choose.”
The board voted 4-1 last week to repeal a ban imposed last March school employees carrying weapons on school grounds, KATU-TV reported.
The district covers seven schools: two elementary schools, a middle school, a high school and three alternative schools, according to KATU.
Porter said the repeal will enable teachers to protect themselves and their students in the event of an attack on school grounds, whether it comes from an outsider or from the student body.
“If [staff members] were faced with a horrific choice, if they had to defend themselves against a kid — which has been the thing — I think it would be a hard decision for them, one that they would educate themselves on,” he told KATU.
“I do believe we’re talking about educators, people who have the interest of the children in mind.”
While the ban was controversial when it was imposed, according to the Oregonian, repealing it has been welcomed by parents, Porter said. He said he’s received only one complaint from a parent.
“I’ve had more parents email me saying that they approve of our decision than not,” Porter said.
Local CBS affiliate KOIN reported that parents interviewed appeared OK with the decision.
“I think if you had teachers with guns you’d have a lot less rampages and incidents going as far as they’ve gone,” parent Israel Ray, who has a freshman at the school, told the station.
One parent who supported the decision is also a school board member who voted in favor of it.
“I have my kids in there. If there was a chance that something was to happen, and there’s a chance that a teacher might be able to protect them, I’m fine with that,” school board member Kellie Smith told KATU.
School board member Ray Biggs, who led the repeal effort, agreed.
“I feel that our kids are more protected now,” he told the Oregonian. “The NRA says the only way you can stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun.”