The House Education Committee of the Oregon State Legislature voted unanimously to pass a bill requiring schools to tell parents within 24 hours if there is a lockdown. It will now be discussed in the House.
Under House Bill 3584, schools must send an electronic message to parents, guardians, and school staff within 24 hours of a lockdown about any safety threats.
The bill’s sponsor, Representative Ricki Ruiz, added an emergency clause to speed up getting it passed.
“This is one priority bill that I dropped in a heartbeat,” said Ruiz.
“There is no question that we had to do something about this communication and hopefully, we’re going to do just that.”
Parents and students were scared when Lane Middle School went into lockdown on February 3. Last week, seventh-grader Jim Chambers and his father, Eric, spoke at a meeting of the House Education Committee.
Expand your knowledge and stay ahead of the curve by clicking on the links below for more related updates-
- Oregon Considers Rent Control Bill to Help Renters Amid Soaring Housing Costs
- Oregon New Housing Bill Invests $5 Million in On-Farm Improvements
“The fear I felt in that moment was like no other fear I have ever experienced,” said Jim, who said he could tell by the way teachers were behaving that it wasn’t a drill.
“It would have been nice to know what had happened shortly after the incident, but the school never told students what caused the lockdown,” he said.
“When you don’t have information, your mind starts to wander.”
Fearing that he might not make it home, Chambers texted his mom, “I hope the world is better with me in it than without.”
“As a dad, you read words like ‘I might not make it home tonight’ and it hits you in a profound way,” said Jim’s father, Eric.
“You think about your 12-year-old contemplating how he might be remembered, and you get a sense of the fear and the anxiety that he’s experiencing.”
Ruiz said he hopes what happened in Nashville Monday never happens in Portland, but he wants to alleviate some of the anxiety students and parents are feeling.
“These shootings in schools and fatalities of our children are becoming very frequent,” he said.
“Our bill does not address the violence and what is going on in our nation, but it does address communication, and how it’s rolled out, and the importance of having factual information.”