Rise Of Gun Violence Within Portland Public Schools

On the 12th of December 2022, a student from Cleveland High school was injured from a gunshot wound from a shooting right outside of the school campus. Portland Police Bureau officers got to the school around 12:30pm after getting a call of someone hearing a gunshot in the area; Cleveland High School went into lockdown immediately. When looking at the scene, officers found evidence partially on school grounds. Witnesses say that two vehicles may have been involved, but both had left before officers arrived. After 20 minutes from the first call, a 16-year-old suffering from a gunshot wound walked into a local hospital and was confirmed to be the Cleveland student injured outside the school. The student is expected to recover.

This has not been the only incident within the Portland Public School District. Since October, five students have been injured by gunfire within the Portland Public School District. Since the shooting at Cleveland High School on December 12th, there was one student injured outside of a basketball tournament at Franklin High School on January 7th. Portland Public Schools’ superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero has expressed relief that no one was seriously injured during the shooting outside of Franklin High School but has a comprehensive neighborhood safety plan in hopes of keeping the children and adults in the Portland area safe from gun violence.

After all the recent gun violence in Portland Public Schools, there has been a conversation about returning school resource officers. School resource officers are specifically assigned to work within schools to aid with discipline and security. School resource officers were removed from most states earlier this year after the wake of racial justice protests in 2020. The discussion about having officers on campus is a big debate. It’s hard to say whether having an SRO at the schools at the time of the shootings would have prevented it from happening. Resource officers could be a component of the area’s safety plan, but the decision has not been made regarding whether they will return to school or not.

The city is working towards building a safer school community for the Portland Public School district and all schools. Mayor Ted Wheeler and superintendent Guerrero are hoping to eliminate gun violence on and around school campuses. The community is hoping for less violence in the school communities and is working towards making a plan to make schools safer for all students.