AGENDA: Salem-Keizer board to vote on concealed weapons ban

The Salem-Keizer School Board will vote Tuesday on a policy banning concealed weapons from district schools.

Currently, state law prohibits open carry of guns in public buildings, which includes schools, with exceptions for law enforcement officers. That law does not apply to those with concealed carry licenses who have concealed weapons. 

The change is being discussed because of a 2021 Oregon law which expanded the list of locations where concealed handguns are prohibited. The legislation allows school districts to set their own policies around banning guns. 

Portland Public Schools’ board opted to ban guns from district schools in June, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. While a majority of districts haven’t banned concealed weapons, OPB reported others that have include Klamath Falls, Myrtle Point, Tillamook, Pendleton, Tigard-Tualatin, Lake Oswego and Woodburn.

The school board has received substantial public input on the ban at two prior meetings where the policy was discussed. Based on those discussions, it appears likely to pass, with board members Ashley Carson Cottingham, Maria Hinojos Pressey, Osvaldo Avila and Karina Guzmán Ortiz expressing support, while directors Marty Heyen, Danielle Bethell and Satya Chandragiri have voiced opposition.

The board will also vote on renewing its safe and welcoming schools policy and commitment to equity and antiracism, which are typically renewed annually near the start of the school year.

Board Chair Carson Cottingham will present an update on the board search for a new superintendent after Superintendent Christy Perry announced in July she intends to retire at the end of the upcoming school year, her ninth with the district.

To participate: The meeting starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 8 at Miller Elementary School, 1650 46th Place S.E.

It is open to the public, and members of the public can sign up for in-person or virtual public comment before the meeting starts until 3 p.m. Monday using the link here.

The meeting will be streamed on CC:Media, channel 21, and on YouTube at the links below.


Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.