An Oregon school district will let teachers carry guns in the classroom if they have a permit.
District officials believe the policy is in the best interests of teachers and students, and would make schools safer, according to ABC News.
Marshall Porter, chairman of the St. Helens School Board in Oregon, said the new policy would give teachers the same rights as ordinary citizens.
“The current law in Oregon allows for anybody to concealed carry on school grounds,” he said in a statement. “To exclude our staff seems like they’re being punished. They should have a right to protect themselves if they so choose.”
Seven schools fall under the jurisdiction of the board.
The 4-1 vote to restore gun rights to teachers took place just a few days after a Nevada middle school student fatally shot himself and a math teacher.
Porter said he trusted teachers to do the right thing in a crisis, whether they were armed or not.
“If [staff members] 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 said. “I do believe we’re talking about educators, people who have the interest of the children in mind.”
The response from parents has been almost entirely positive, he said.
Allowing armed staff members in schools remains a controversial issue. An Arkansas school district recently clashed with the state attorney general over its plan to train teachers to carry guns in case of an emergency. (RELATED: Arkansas school district will arm teachers, AG opinion be damned)