The Multnomah County GOP is calling on Portland's public schools to refund money it says administrators and teachers "misspent" by allowing students to protest gun violence on March 14.
"It is a core mission of the Republican Party to protect the Second Amendment," James Buchal, chair of the Multnomah County Republican party, says. "Responsible Portland parents expect their children to be at their schools and in class, and not literally running wild through the streets. These events place children in danger as political pawns for Leftist school personnel."
Thousands of students across America, and hundreds in Portland, participated in a walk out honoring the victims of a mass shooting at a Florida high school and calling on lawmakers to tighten restrictions on firearm sales.
Advocates for gun control have had more success in the last month in the wake of the school shooting, claiming victories when some national and local retailers raised the minimum age to buy a gun or ammunition.
Two Oregon men have already contested those new policies on discrimination grounds in state court. But Oregon lawmakers may see a proposal to change the legal age to purchase a gun next year: Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian has promised to introduce a bill to raise the age limit to 21 under state law.
But Buchal, who has shifted the Multnomah County GOP into a more combative organization over the past two years, says local authorities have overstepped in support of the student protesters.
Buchal points to a Portland city rule and an Oregon law that prohibit public officials from participating in political activities while serving in their official capacities. He says school administrators and teachers who allowed students to protest should have to refund any district money spent in the process.
It's unclear what funds would have been spent when schools allowed students to walk out of class on Wednesday.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler encouraged schools to allow students to participate in the political action if they wanted to.
"You have not let us get away with thoughts and prayers alone," the mayor said in a statement urging students to walk out on March 14. "You will no longer be silent as your peers die and adults elected to protect you do nothing. You are standing up for what you believe in and holding adults accountable."