South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signed the armed teachers bill into law on Friday. Armed teachers would be part of the new Sentinel Programs. Individual school boards can decide whether or not to allow teachers to carry guns on campus in their school districts.
The South Dakota educational community reportedly opposed allowing teachers to carry guns at school. Although the western state is not the first to permit guns in schools, it is reportedly the first to make a law specifically allowing it. Approximately two dozen states have proposed similar legislation since the Connecticut school massacre.
The tragic mass shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school renewed the debate about allowing teachers to carry guns in school across the United States. Once school boards in South Dakota take a vote on the Sentinel Program, local law enforcement agencies must then sign off on the concealed carry policy as well.
The rural nature of South Dakota was reportedly one of the primary reasons the armed teachers legislation passed. Schools in the state are sometimes located quite a distance away from law enforcement agencies and other emergency first responders.
School boards are mandated to discuss the Sentinel Program in public meetings. The decision on whether or not to arm teachers can be referred to a public vote, according to details written into the law. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the armed teachers bill easily passed the South Dakota House of Representatives.
Republican State Representative Scott Craig stated that the guns in the classroom bill became better after amendments were added and urged his peers to support the legislation. Mead School District Superintendent Don Kirkegaard disagrees with Craig and the guns in the classroom law.
Kirkegaard stated during a local media interview that he would have preferred a summer study workshop about school safety instead. The Rapid City area school administrator also noted a belief that not very many districts will likely approved of armed teachers until “a lot” more research is done on the Sentinel Program.
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