The US will be watching South Dakota in the next several months to see how they manage the details of this new legislation.
South Dakota is now the first state in the US to pass legislation which allows “the state’s school districts to arm teachers and other personnel with guns” since the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, in December, 2012. According to the Daily Mail,
The bill’s main sponsor, Rep. Scott Craig, R-Rapid City, 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 … a school district must decide in a public meeting whether to arm teachers and others. Another Senate amendment allowed school district residents to push a school board’s decision to a public vote.
The South Dakota House passed the Senate version of the bill with a 40-19 vote on Monday, and Governor Dennis Daugaard signed it in to law on Friday. Although supporters of the bill insist these “sentinels” can help prevent tragedies in public schools, opponents of the measure were hoping for a more “comprehensive study of school safety overall.” The executive director of School Administrators of South Dakota Rob Monson, explained that his group does not support the bill because, “it fails to address key issues, such as school building safety, mental health and fire and emergency response.” However, Representative Craig said, “There are plenty of school districts that let us know that they’ve wanted this, and they’ve wanted this kind of provision for quite some time.” Law makers in a number of other states are working on measures similar to South Dakota’s, and both Utah and Texas have allowed teachers in some districts with concealed carry licenses to bring guns onto public school grounds.
Craig also explained that the law will not go into effect until July,1, 2013, and they are still not sure how a “typical district would implement a sentinel policy,” as those decisions will be made locally. He said, “They get to work out the details in the days ahead. They’ve just kind of been waiting and watching to see if this even would pass.”