Oregon teacher loses fight to take gun to class

PORTLAND, Oregon Fri Nov 9, 2007 7:13pm EST

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PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) - An Oregon high school English teacher will not be allowed to carry her gun to school, a state circuit court ruled on Friday in a decision closely watched by both sides of the gun debate.

Shirley Katz, who has a legal permit to carry a concealed handgun, argued she needed the Glock semi-automatic pistol to protect herself from her ex-husband. She sued the school district when it told her carrying a gun was against a district policy prohibiting guns.

Circuit Judge G. Philip Arnold agreed with the district, saying "The District has a right to enforce this policy." he noted that employees "accept their jobs subject to, and knowing, the policy."

"We are pleased," said Dr. Phil Long, superintendent of the Medford School District. "This case was a distraction from our real mission, which is educating children."

The teacher had support from pro-gun rights groups. In light of multiple school shootings, some gun advocates have argued that teachers, and maybe even students, should be armed to prevent such tragedies in the future.

In April, a student shot dead 32 people at Virginia Tech University and earlier this week a gun-wielding student killed eight people at a high school in Finland.

"I was not particularly surprised," said Kevin Starrett, executive director of the Oregon Firearms Federation, whose group paid the teacher's legal bills and is discussing an appeal.

(Reporting by Theresa Carson, editing by Mary Milliken and Todd Eastham)

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