EAGLE POINT, Ore. — There was a packed agenda, but not a packed house Thursday night at the Weapon Safety Committee Meeting for School District 9. For months, the group has been meeting to talk about ways to improve school safety, including the possibility of arming school staff.
Empty seats and missing committee members led to Thursday evening’s meeting to be postponed. Despite this, those who did attend made progress on the estimated cost for more than a dozen possible school security upgrades.
“Tonight we’ve done a cost analysis on the ones that we don’t have in place, how much it would cost, what the implementation would be like, is it easy to implement,” said committee leader Allen Barber.
One of the suggestions receiving the most attention is the possibility of arming school staff. Barber said he spoke with a group of students about that possibility, and after initially having a majority in favor of the plan, once other options were presented, students swayed against it, which led to mixed results.
“And I said, ‘Okay now, arm your teachers, what do you think?’ and it went like this 15-9 with about six undecided both times,” said Barber.
Only a handful of community members were in attendance. One was Nicholai Mathewson, who believes school safety should be a priority.
“I think any measure to improve student safety is great but are those feasible? Who knows,” said Mathewson.
Committee leaders are hoping to have a security expert come to the district and give advice on how to improve security, a second opinion Mathewson thinks will give great insight.
“I think it’s too soon to pick something and go gung-ho, since we don’t know the budget, as well as what’s going to be most effective since none of us are necessarily professionals other than the law enforcement individuals that have been here,” said Mathewson.
As for future meetings, a greater turnout in the community is needed for increased security to become a reality sooner rather than later.
“I know we’re making great progress. I know that. I’m thrilled that the committee is still going, and I’m going to quote you just a moment ago. I know there’s a big football game tonight. This is more important than a football game,” said Barber.
An official date for the next weapon safety meeting has not been set. However, some of the same information from Thursday night’s meeting will be re-presented.