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Armed for school

Martin Vennard | 08:30 UK time, Friday, 19 October 2007

Shirley Katz is an English teacher in Medford, Oregon, a town that is known in the US for its succulent pears.

Its economy is centered around agriculture and timber products, and it's a central location for people wanting to visit areas such as Oregon Caves National Monument, Crater Lake, and the Rogue River Valley.

But the town has hit the headlines because Ms Katz has taken the school district to court over its policy of prohibiting employees from carrying guns on school grounds.


Ms Katz, who holds a firearms licence, says she wants to take her handgun to school to be able to protect herself and her students from attacks, such as the ones that took place at Virginia Tech earlier this year and the Columbine-attack in 1999.

She initially got the gun because she says that her former husband was a threat - something he denies - but she now says school safety is her priority.


Ms Katz says that she previously taught at an inner city school and that because the students had access to guns they didn't use them because they knew they would get shot themselves.

But because her current school - South Medford High - is gun free, there is is nothing to deter someone from using a weapon on the premises.


Ms Katz says that many of her students support her stance and that she knows of other teachers in other schools who carry weapons to defend themsleves and their students.

We plan to talk to Ms Katz during Tuesday's programme. If you would like to take part in the discussion, please email us your phone number (it won't be published) to worldhaveyoursay@bbc.co.uk or post your details on the blog.


  • Comment number 1.

    Even if gun carriers in schools are well trained, isn't there more likely to be accidents with larger amounts of weapons in schools. Also, if there is a determined gunman coming to your school I doubt the fact that you are carrying a gun will deter him/her from following through. What would you do if they did come? Would you shoot to kill? I'm sure most "trained" gunman that you speak of have never shot anything more than targets and the occasional deer. Taking a humans life is a VERY different thing.


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