PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Portland Public Schools teachers and the superintendent are continuing to discuss how to prevent gun violence, after students have been injured in recent shootings at high schools in their district.
Leaders of the Portland Association of Teachers said Monday that now is the time to talk about changes they want to see in the city’s schools.
PPS leaders said they haven’t decided if bringing back school resource officers is the best option.
“When I think of schools, I think of a whole continuum of prevention, intervention, and support and of course we have to maintain a collaborative working relationship with law enforcement,” said PPS Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero.
Meanwhile, leaders of the Portland Association of Teachers are speaking publicly about what they see as peaceful solutions to the problem.
“We attain peace not by having an absence of violence, but by having a presence of justice,” said Angela Bonilla, president of the Portland Association of Teachers.
She said the teachers association wants to exhaust all other options before returning armed officers to the classroom. The Portland Association of Teachers would rather see investments in more extracurricular activities, mental health counselors and social support for students.
“We need to have more opportunities to have students find what they love, what they’re passionate about, what they want to pursue for the rest of their lives in our schools,” Bonilla said.
But those extracurricular activities and resources will take money and Bonilla said they need more funding.
As legislators start to convene for the 2023 session, teachers said there is an opportunity to change schools in Oregon – but that will require the public demanding lawmakers to fully fund education at $11.9 billion. That’s an increase of more than $2.5 billion.
“I think it’s really important to remember that this all comes together because our little kindergarteners become the humans on the street experiencing the things we want to end,” Bonilla said.
She strongly believes that schools don’t need more weapons to end violence.
“What we need is justice. What we need is peace,” she said.
The Portland Association of Teachers wants to hear from parents and community members about what improvements they’d like to see in schools to make them safer and better.
They’re hosting two community listening sessions in the morning and evening on Friday, January 27.
Morning Listening Session:
Friday, Jan. 27th – 10-11:30 AM Rigler Elementary School
5401 NE Prescott St, Portland, OR 97218
Evening Listening Session:
Friday, Jan. 27th – 6-7:30 PM Scott Elementary School
6700 NE Prescott St, Portland, OR 97218