PORTLAND, Ore. – Four pro-2nd Amendment parents are suing Portland Public Schools (PPS) over gun control rallies.
Their lawyer, Multnomah County GOP chair James Buchal, says the district violated parents' and students' First Amendment rights by promoting gun control following last year's school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
"It’s wrong for the schools to essentially hijack public resources to push one side of a controversial issue and to misuse children as puppets in their exercise," said Buchal.
He also said PPS used district resources to coordinate with outside activists, helped plan political activity, including walkouts, and claims the schools "indoctrinated" students in the classroom.
"It’s a giant scheme of manipulation and it’s not what people want their education dollars spent on," said Buchal.
“We think this lawsuit is baseless,” said Harry Esteve, the spokesperson for Portland Public Schools. “There's just no base for what he's claiming. And the disappointing part about that is that we still have to spend a lot of time and district resources on it.”
Esteve said the district handed over thousands of documents and emails at the request of Buchal.
"If you read those, it will show that we were very intentional and very thoughtful making sure students were safe, making sure their rights were protected," said Esteve.
There's another student-led walkout planned for Friday, but is instead focused on climate change.
PPS doesn't know how many students are planning to participate, but said that if students skip class it will be considered an unexcused absence.