MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) – High school English teacher Shirley Katz insists she needs to take her pistol with her to work because she fears her ex-husband could show up and try to harm her.
But Katz’s district has barred teachers from bringing guns to school, so she is challenging the ban as unlawful, since Oregon is among states that allow people with a permit to carry concealed weapons into public buildings.
“This is primarily about my Second Amendment right and Oregon law and the simple fact that I know it is my right to carry that gun,” Katz, 44, said while sitting at the kitchen table of her home outside this city of 74,000.
“I have that (concealed weapons) permit. I refuse to let my ex-husband bully me. And I am not going to let the school board bully me either,” Katz said.
In Oregon, a sheriff can grant a concealed-weapons permit to anyone whose criminal record is clean and who completes a gun-safety course.
Thirty-eight states, along with the District of Columbia, prohibit people from taking guns to school, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.
But it is unclear how many offer an exemption for people holding concealed-weapons permits, since the council does not track such exceptions.
Superintendent Phil Long insists employees and students are safer without guns on campus at South Medford High School, where Katz teaches. The district plans to make that argument when the case comes before a judge on Thursday.
Oregon had a school shooting in 1998, when student Kip Kinkel killed his parents at home, then drove to school and opened fire in the cafeteria of Thurston High School in Springfield, killing two.