PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Eric Chambers said his 7th-grade son was terrified by a lockdown at Lane Middle School in Portland in February. The boy texted his mom to say he wasn’t sure if he’d make it home and that he wanted to be remembered as someone who made the world a better place.

Chambers said he emailed the principal at Lane Middle School and officials at the school district to find out what exactly happened. He said he never got a response.

He even filed a public records request to find out what happened that day.

Chambers told KOIN 6 News his son said there were rumors high schoolers just entered the middle school that day. But Chambers doesn’t know for sure — and that’s the problem.

Joseph Lane Middle School in Portland, March 13, 2023 (KOIN)
Joseph Lane Middle School in Portland, March 13, 2023 (KOIN)

“Seeing that level of fear that he experienced and that probably hundreds of kids in that school experience that afternoon was really alarming to me,” he said. “That represented something that they needed to process.”

Last week, Franklin High School went into a lockdown because of a shooting near the school. That same day, Gresham Democrat Rick Ruiz introduced a bill in the Oregon House of Representatives to create a process for schools to notify parents in case of similar emergencies.

Rep. Ricki Ruiz said the introduction of HB 3584 on the day of the Franklin lockdown was a grim coincidence, but it could have happened any other day.

Oregon State Rep. Ricki Ruiz, D-Gresham, March 11, 2023 (KOIN)
Oregon State Rep. Ricki Ruiz, D-Gresham, March 11, 2023 (KOIN)

“It’s not only happening in Portland, it’s happening across the state of Oregon,” Ruiz said. “We have to take action immediately to remedy this problem.”

The bill would require schools and districts to notify parents “as expediently as possible but no later than 24 hours after the initiatin of a safety threat action,” such as a lockdown.

The notice to parents would need to include a description of the issue that caused the action, what actions were taken and for how long and how the issue was resolved.

‘Committed to student and staff safety’

A PPS spokesperson told KOIN 6 News an email about the Franklin High School situation went out to parents very quickly. But some parents blocked the incoming emails which delayed them getting information.

In a statement on Monday, PPS said they communicate “to families within hours after an incident, such as a lockdown. The proposed bill essentially requires schools to do what is already being done. We would be very appreciative of a bill that focuses on reducing gun violence in our community, as opposed to legislation on how we should react to it. We remain committed to student and staff safety and will continue to work with city, county and state leaders on this topic.”