June 14, 2022
Portland Public Schools Board of Education
501 North Dixon Street
Portland, OR 97227
Dear Board of Education Members:
Safety is an essential part of the school environment. Nothing undermines that sense of security more than the number of mass shootings over the last 25 years. That's why we're writing in support of the proposed revisions to your Weapon’s Policy that not only uphold the district’s current ban of weapons on school grounds, but also restrict any individual with a concealed firearm license from carrying a gun while on Portland Public Schools District property.
As discussions on school safety have made clear, current State law ORS 166.291 allows people with a concealed firearm license to carry a firearm onto school grounds. In 2021, the State passed Senate Bill 554 (SB554), which allows local school districts to advance gun safety policies. This includes prohibiting an individual with a concealed firearm license to carry a gun on school property. By adopting the proposed revisions, the Board will demonstrate an ongoing commitment to prioritize safety in our schools.
As Multnomah County Commissioners, we also approach community safety with a comprehensive lens that aims to ensure safe and healthy communities that support upstream efforts to address the root causes of violence, and promote positive development of all young people in an affirming environment where they can thrive. We appreciate the actions taken by the Portland Public Schools Board in recent years, including the removal of armed school resource officers and acknowledging the importance of a holistic approach to student health. And we recognize the importance of adopting long-term strategies while also providing immediate actions like this revision.
This action by the Portland Public Schools Board would constitute an important step toward increasing school safety, and creating an environment in which youth can flourish, learn, and grow. We are glad to stand with you as you implement this important new policy.
Commissioner Susheela Jayapal, District 2
Chair Deborah Kafoury
Commissioner Sharon Meieran, District 1
Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, District 3
Commissioner Lori Stegmann, District 4