Washington, Mar 9: The governor of South Dakota, Dennis Daugaard has signed a measure into law allowing the state’s school districts to arm teachers and other personnel with guns, the first of its kind since the Connecticut school shooting.
Supporters said that the so-called sentinels could help prevent tragedies such as December’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 students and six teachers died.
According to the Washington Post, the law will go into effect July 1.
The bill’s main sponsor, Republican Scott Craig said he started working with federal law enforcement officials on the measure in early November, and the Connecticut tragedy weeks later “only affirmed the rightness of this bill.”
He said the measure does not force a district to arm its teachers or force teachers to carry a gun.
South Dakota does not stand alone on this issue. For a dozen years, Utah has allowed teachers and others with concealed carry licenses to wear a gun in a public school.
According to the report, a couple of school districts in Texas have been given written authorization to allow guns in schools.
And legislatures in other states, including Georgia, New Hampshire and Kansas, are working on measures similar to South Dakota’s.
Several representatives of school boards, school administrators and teachers opposed the bill during committee testimony last month.
They said the measure could make schools more dangerous, lead to accidental shootings and put guns in the hands of people who are not adequately trained to shoot in emergency situations.
According to the report, Rob Monson, executive director of School Administrators of South Dakota, said his group opposed the bill because it failed to address key issues, such as school building safety, mental health and fire and emergency response.
On Monday, the South Dakota House voted 40-19 to accept the Senate version of the bill, which added a requirement that a school district must decide in a public meeting whether to arm teachers and others, the report added. (ANI)