Schools’ focus remains

By Baker City Herald Readers December 12, 2011 07:14 pm

I should at least get a byline in the paper. We currently have weapons rule version 7 functioning. Because we continue to follow the law, there is no change in our practice.

Our schools are showing steady growth and improvement. Our school board is working through very difficult deliberations about an emotionally charged subject: weapons in schools.

When we trespass, it is for being a nuisance. Although rare, it does happen.

It is a Class C felony to come onto public property with a weapon. Then there are exceptions and defenses. We accept that it is complex; the police do it. When the police come, they may arrest the individual for a felony and for us it ends.

What do we do about weapons on campus? We protect our children and execute appropriate actions. We make the necessary calls and confirmations and treat the visitor properly, depending on the circumstances. If the intruder is a potential felon, the police handle it. If someone thinks they have a legitimate civil action, we cannot stop them. Safety and learning are our first priority; we have legal counsel on retainer.

Access to our schools is not unrestricted or universal. There is a protocol; check in, give information, be escorted and supervised. Has nothing to do with weapons. Has to do with safety and orderly running of the schools. Has to do with in parentis localis, we become the parents.

There are laws in this case that are intended to work together to regulate weapons in a safe and sensible manner. People who sign in, talk politely and do their business are appropriately checked and treated with courtesy.

There have been two recent court cases. Baker 5J is not like either of them. We are about an existing law for schools that is specific to the inside workings of a legally defined K-12 school system. There is a difference between K-12 schools and universities.

As for those who are enjoying this drama, don’t let your subscription lapse. Although we are currently on version 7, there is at least one more major player (PACE) to weigh in officially. When that happens, the language may change yet again.

Through all of this, we continue to focus on our purpose and mission: safety and learning. Each day, each child, in each subject will make a memory.

Walt Wegener
Superintendent
Baker 5J School District