Heat for teacher: St. Helens lifts bans on teachers carrying guns

Heat for teacher: St. Helens lifts bans on teachers carrying guns

ST. HELENS, Ore. – They’re back.

Guns in the St. Helens school district, that is.

The school board this week repealed a ban on teachers and staff members carrying concealed weapons on campus.

The ban was put in place in March, but a new set of board members decided to set it aside. Board member Ray Biggs and chairman Marshall Porter, in particular, think teachers should be able to have guns in the event of a school shooting.

“I would say that the risk is more likely that somebody who isn’t following the law is a higher risk to your child coming on to school property than the one that is going to do it legally,” Porter said.

Guns in schools have been in the headlines this week.

On Thursday in Vancouver, an 11-year-old boy allegedly brought a handgun, 400 rounds of ammunition and several knives to school. Police said the told them a voice in his head told him to kill a fellow student who was bullying another boy.

On Wednesday, two students were accidentally shot when another student pulled the trigger on an assault rifle mounted to a police motorcycle on display at a school event in Chino, Calif.

And in Nevada, a 12-year-old killed a teacher and wounded two classmates before turning the gun on himself Monday.

Porter said he understands why the decision will be controversial, but said districts should decide the matter on their own.

“Having it at the school creates an issue,” he said. “But I think our teachers are responsible, our community is pretty knowledgeable about guns.”

“Our community is kind of rigged that way already. It's not like we're in downtown Portland, where we’re different in that sense, or Beaverton.”

District superintendent Mark Davalos wouldn’t comment, referring questions back to the school board.

The South County Spotlight, the city of Scappoose's newspaper, quoted Davalos as saying he agreed with the ban.