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MailTribune.com
  • Hedrick monitor fired for wanting to carry gun at school

  • The Medford School Board ruled Tuesday to uphold the dismissal of a part-time campus monitor who was fired in May for defiantly wanting to carry a handgun at Hedrick Middle School in Medford.
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  • The Medford School Board ruled Tuesday to uphold the dismissal of a part-time campus monitor who was fired in May for defiantly wanting to carry a handgun at Hedrick Middle School in Medford.
    Donald Later of Medford, a retired Jackson County sheriff's deputy, was dismissed on grounds of insubordination.
    It is unclear whether Later actually brought a gun on campus, as he never showed it to anyone, Superintendent Phil Long said. But when Later's supervisor asked whether he was carrying a gun, he said yes, Long said.
    Later had met with Long during spring break to ask that he be given permission to carry the concealed weapon. After researching state and school board policies, Long denied the request.
    Later then told his supervisor that he intended to carry the gun. He was placed on administrative leave and then fired for insubordination in May.
    Since he was a probationary employee, not a member of the union, he could have been fired without cause, but the school district wanted to take this time to review its long-standing policy, said Long.
    After listening to Later's appeal and getting legal counsel from the district attorney, six members of the Medford School Board attending the Tuesday hearing voted unanimously to uphold the dismissal.
    Later cited laws that allow retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed weapons with a permit and not be prosecuted.
    Long said employees cannot carry a weapon on school grounds and that Later had agreed to that policy when he was hired in January.
    "When it comes to someone responsible for our students' safety, we need to know they will follow direction and abide by our safety protocols," Long said Wednesday.
    — Janet Eastman
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