A school district in Oregon has decided to allow teachers to carry concealed firearms in classrooms as long as they possess a permit, and locals are embracing the move.
The board of the St. Helens School district voted 4-1 last week to lift a restriction on allowing on-campus employees to carry concealed. Board chairman Marshall Porter told ABC News the board agreed it was punitive to forbid teachers to exercise rights available to other Oregonians, under State and Federal law.
“The current law in Oregon allows for anybody to concealed carry on school grounds,” said Porter. “To exclude our staff seems like they’re being punished. They should have a right to protect themselves if they so choose.”
Not to mention their students, should the need arise.
“If [employees] 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 added. “I do believe we’re talking about educators, people who have the interest of the children in mind.”
Porter also noted that only one parent has objected to the decision, even as he’s received several emails applauding the change. “I’ve had more parents email me saying that they approve of our decision than not,” he told ABC.
The concealed carry vote will affect seven St. Helens district schools, including two elementary schools, one middle school, one high school and three alternative schools. The district lies just north of the Portland-Vancouver metro area.
The St. Helens vote represents yet another decision by suburban and rural school boards to afford teachers the opportunity to protect themselves and their students. In August, an Arkansas school board defied a State attorney general’s advisory opinion by approving a concealed-carry plan for employees who have undergone training.