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Teacher demands to carry gun in school.

A TEACHER FROM SOUTH MEDFORD High School in Oregon is suing her district for the right to carry a concealed semiautomatic pistol on school grounds, saying that without it her life is in danger from a violent ex-husband.

Jackson County Circuit Judge G. Philip Arnold recently said he would issue a written opinion on Katz's claim that the district's policy prohibiting teachers from carrying guns on school grounds violates the state law.

Under Oregon law people with concealed handgun licenses can carry guns into public schools, but the law is unclear on whether school districts still have the authority to stop employees from carrying guns onto school property.

Phil Long, superintendent of the Medford (Ore.) School District, says that they do. "Public districts have the authority to regulate student or staff behavior if that behavior would be dangerous to the school," he says. "This is an employer-employee issue, not a private citizen rights issue."

He cites the district's own policy on weapons in schools which states that "employees shall not possess a dangerous or deadly weapon or firearm on district property or at school-sponsored events ... including those who may otherwise be permitted by law to carry such weapons."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

But the teacher, Shirley Katz, said in a radio interview she has "firearms training to carry the weapon safely, even in class."

Her lawyer says the district's policy of disallowing concealed weapons on campus is illegal and places her life in danger.

Seeing the issue as a way for her to stand up for battered women, Katz says she was in an abusive relationship for seven years and that she will not back down.

Oregon Deputy Superintendent Ed Dennis is more cautious about Katz's alleged rights. "You can't guarantee when you take a gun into a classroom and onto a school that it isn't going to fall into the wrong hands," he says.
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Title Annotation:BRIEFINGS: Inside the Law
Author:Miners, Zach
Publication:District Administration
Date:Nov 1, 2007
Words:313
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