When Lincoln High School students protested the school board's delay on a bond measure Wednesday, they showed up on the doorstep of Benson Polytechnic High School.
But the students from Benson were prevented from leaving the school, parents from that school now say.
PPS still insists they were willing to let the Benson kids out if they wanted to.
"We did not prevent the Benson kids from going outside," says spokeswoman Courtney Westling. "Our first priority is their safety."
But even the signs posted on the door and captured by KPTV-12 show otherwise.
"School is in a lockout," read the sign on the door of Benson, shown in the coverage of the protests. "No one in or out."
Westling said she could not comment on that. The Oregonian first reported this afternoon that interim Superintendent Bob McKean called for a lockout, which PPS says still would have allowed kids to leave.
One school board member says the decision to prevent kids from leaving was a terrible administrative decision.
"The students at our wealthiest and whitest school are allowed to stage a protest that ranges all across town," says School Board member Paul Anthony, a Benson parent. "I thought it was terrific thing for the kids to do. But the kids at one of our poorest and most diverse schools are locked up? What kind of message is that to send to the kids?"
A photo provided to WW of a sign posted Wednesday in the school show that students were directed to stay.
"We weren't allowed to leave," says Benson senior Eli Schumont, 17, who took the photo of the signs. "They had teachers and security guards standing at every door. I feel that it's immoral to lie like that, and also unsafe. Now if there's another lockout, there's no legitimacy. It will be like, Are you trying to prevent us from joining a protest?"
The protest was sparked by the School Board decision to delay going to voters on the $750 million bond measure that will overhaul Lincoln, Benson and Madison.
Now the activist group Don't Shoot Portland's Teressa Raiford is calling for a public hearing and full disclosure on how students from Benson were treated so differently.
"They might have well had a Confederate flag on the school," she says. "It was disgusting."
Parents at Benson say they're troubled by the message the district sent.
Anthony says kids in the building "were just told there was a lockdown."
"They were told nothing about being free to leave," says Anthony. "The administration used the same words for that when there's a shooting in Holladay park or at Lloyd Center, which happened three or four times."