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Medford teacher appeals gun ruling

A Medford English teacher who sought to bring her pistol to school has appealed a Circuit Court ruling reaffirming the school district's right to forbid employees from carrying guns on campus.

The appeal, filed Friday in the state Court of Appeals in Salem, continues a battle between South Medford High School teacher Shirley Katz and the district that began in the early fall when Katz told officials she wanted to carry the semiautomatic 9mm Glock to protect herself from her ex-husband who had threatened her.

Ex-husband Gerry Katz has denied he threatened her.

Oral arguments in the appeal are not expected until the summer.

In a high-profile case that spawned anxiety among public school officials across the state, Katz claimed the district's policy conflicted with a state law that prohibits local governments from enacting "civil or criminal ordinances" regulating or restricting firearms.

State law allows people with permits to carry concealed handguns into schools and other public buildings, but most school districts in the state have passed policies barring employees from doing so.

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge G. Philip Arnold's opinion stated that districts are entitled to pass such policies because they govern only employees and are a condition of employment to which employees agree.

Members of the public who have a concealed handgun permit may still carry a gun to public schools under the existing law.

The Medford district and other districts around the state have been pressing state legislators for several years to pass a law that would ban everyone except law enforcement from carrying guns on school campuses. Past attempts by lawmakers have failed.

— Paris Achen