Portland Public Schools discusses banning guns from school grounds

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — At a Portland Public Schools meeting Wednesday night, parents were clear on where they stand on guns in schools.

“We know that guns and children do not mix,”  said parent Amie Wexler during the online meeting.

“I believe deeply and I know I’m not alone, that guns don’t belong on our school grounds,” another parent, Jennifer Barth, added.

Within a week of the mass shooting at a Uvalde, Texas elementary school that left 19 children and two teachers dead, parents passionately asked Oregon’s largest school district to approve a policy that would ban all guns on school grounds.

“Please pass this policy today in the name of all those students we’ve lost to gun violence,” a third parent said.

The policy being considered stems from a new state law that took effect last September, which allows school districts to ban guns even when carried by someone with a concealed carry license.

RELATED: In wake of Texas shooting, debate over school resource officers in Oregon resurfaces

According to an analysis from Oregon Public Broadcasting, PPS is one of nearly 200 school districts across Oregon that still hasn’t adopted that ban.

While some fought to implement the policy during Wednesday’s virtual session, others were not so sure about it,

“The fact that we don’t have SROs [school resource officers] anymore is problematic for me,” said Joe Crelier, director of risk management at PPS. S

School resource officers were removed from Portland Public Schools two years ago amid protests against police violence in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.

RELATED: School resource officers will no longer patrol Portland schools

“Now that we add a prohibition on CHL [concealed handgun license] carriers, what is the deterrent? What is stopping someone who is evil, out of their mind, from coming on campus?” said Crelier.

Though the policy is still in the public comment phase, the school board will likely take it up at its next meeting on June 14.

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