Benson HS students fight to keep sports amid rumors

PPS officials say nothing is being decided yet

Students gathered on June 20 to march from Benson HS to the Portland Public Schools office to tell the board not to get rid of sports. (KOIN)
Students gathered on June 20 to march from Benson HS to the Portland Public Schools office to tell the board not to get rid of sports. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) —  A social media rumor has students and parents outraged, fearing sports could be done away with at their school.

A group of more than 100 people marched from Benson Polytechnic High School to the Portland Public Schools office to express their frustration to the school board. Along the way, they chanted “Save our sports!”

Students gathered on June 20 to march from Benson HS to the Portland Public Schools office to tell the board not to get rid of sports. (KOIN)
Students gathered on June 20 to march from Benson HS to the Portland Public Schools office to tell the board not to get rid of sports. (KOIN)

“I’ve been looking forward to playing high school sports,” incoming freshman Micah Gamlen said.

John Slaughter, who graduated in 1994 and coached football at Benson, helped organize the group.

“We want to make sure we let the district and the city know that we are to fight for our students,” Slaughter said.

Alumni and parents say they’ve fought to keep sports at Benson for the better part of a decade.

The district says the rumors aren’t true and nothing is on the chopping block — for now.

“We’re months away from making any decision,” PPS spokesperson Dave Northfield said. “Benson has struggled to put together viable teams in a lot of the sports we’re talking about.”

Students testified to the board Tuesday night and said they will continue to speak out in future meetings, demanding that athletics don’t disappear.

“I think it’s important for us to stand up now,” freshman Ellie Nakayama said.

“I want the kids to know they have the power,” Slaughter said.