Salem-Keizer to vote on gun resolution that would ban concealed carry on district property

·2 min read
Kindergarten students find their classrooms on their first day of school on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021 at Miller Elementary School in Salem, Ore.
Kindergarten students find their classrooms on their first day of school on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021 at Miller Elementary School in Salem, Ore.

The Salem-Keizer Public Schools governing board will next meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9 at Miller Elementary School, 1650 46th Place SE.

The board will consider a resolution to further prohibit weapons on district property. The proposed policy expands existing restrictions to include all concealed firearms carried by campus visitors.

The board first discussed the topic in a June 28 work session and again after the first reading of the proposal July 12.

Board members remain split on the issue.

Newly elected chairwoman Ashley Carson Cottingham, co-vice chairwomen María Hinojos Pressey and Karina Guzmán Ortiz, and member Osvaldo Avila support the resolution to further prohibit weapons. Members Danielle Bethell, Satya Chandragiri and Marty Heyen oppose it.

Both sides feel their stance is the safer option.

Salem-Keizer's proposed resolution would "prohibit weapons, including concealed weapons, per ORS 166.377 and direct the superintendent to develop and enact administrative policy to achieve this outcome."

Because Salem-Keizer already has some restrictions in place, this resolution would expand restrictions to cover school visitors.

"The only change is the 'visitors in public with a concealed carry,' " Superintendent Christy Perry said. 'That's it, that's this resolution. That's the only thing that it adds."

Several community members have testified at recent board meetings. Some argued the removal of concealed carry handguns will make schools safer with fewer weapons around children. Others said it will leave adults powerless.

The board is also scheduled to vote to renew its Safe and Welcoming Schools resolution and its Commitment to Equity and Antiracism.

The board will hear public comments for 45 minuteson both agenda and non-agenda items. A lottery system will be used to select speakers at random, according to the agenda.

Comments will be accepted by phone call, Zoom, written or in person. For all forms of public comment, advance sign-up via the district's online form is required. Sign-up will not be open at the meeting site. Signup closes at 3 p.m. Monday.

The meeting will be broadcast on Capital Community Media, channel 21. Closed captioning in English is available. The meeting can be viewed on YouTube in English or Spanish.

For more information, go to salkeiz.k12.or.us/schoolboard.

This article originally appeared on Salem Statesman Journal: Salem-Keizer Public Schools to vote on concealed-carry ban