PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Portland school board members and students debated proposed security changes Tuesday night after shootings near campuses injured at least five students from Franklin, Cleveland and Jefferson high schools in the past year.
Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero launched a Safety and Security Task Force that focuses on budgeting security changes – including the presence of Portland police officers and high tech weapon detectors.
One measure would make Portland police officers available and visible near schools, which one board member said may be an issue as the Portland Police Bureau continues to face staffing issues.
According to a focus group study, some parents agreed to having a greater police presence while students opposed – saying they didn’t want guns or police in the halls.
That opposition led to a debate between board member Herman Greene and student representative Byronie McMahon, who said “it’s very dangerous to say you can have a voice in all these issues…and then student safety is just kicked from that group.”
But Green said it comes down to safety.
“I know I shouldn’t say this cause I’m a school board member, and I’m an elected official. I don’t really care what the kids say…Your frontal lobe hasn’t even developed yet fully,” Greene said. “You don’t even know what you don’t know at this point.”
Another proposed change would add high-tech roving weapon detections systems at key entry points of any major high school event. These systems can pinpoint potential threats on a person and cost $150,000 each.
The next meeting is set for May 23.