Sentinel Bill Passes Education Committee
by Jeff Rusack, Reporter
January 25, 2013 4:56 PM
South Dakota is one step closer to allowing schools to arm members of their faculty.
The House of Representatives education committee voted 8 to 7 today to allow House Bill-1087 to move to the House of Representatives floor for discussion.
Since the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut state legislatures throughout the country have been looking for solutions to protect students better.
What some South Dakota legislators are hoping for is the option for school boards to decide if staff members can carry a weapon.
“We know there is no perfect solution. No guarantee to safeguard our schools, regardless of the number of safeguards we can think to put in place. We recognize that an armed presence in our schools is a comprehensive part in our approach to school safety,” said Representative Scott Craig.
But, what are normally considered weapon free areas has some skeptical if more guns would keep children safer since there is safety drills already in place.
“Not a one of us knows when the next tornado will come across South Dakota or the next school building might happen to start on fire. But, we have plans in place for those. We practice them,” said Robert Monson.
For one South Dakota legislator the bill is more about letting school boards decide rather than the state.
“This bill mandates nothing. If it passed today, nothing changes tomorrow. No school has to do anything,” said Rep. Craig.
But, others believe that's too big of a decision to ask of a school board.
“I think that this a safety issue is above what the school board should have to make,” said Monson.
The governor weighed in on the issue during his weekly address to the media.
“I do like the idea of local control. So to the extent of the school sentinel bill offers what I think that is a good first step,” said Governor Duagaard.