After narrowly passing a Senate committee on Friday, a bill that would let schools arm staff if they so choose is a step closer to becoming law.
It passed the State Affairs Committee in a 5-4 vote. The bill’s next stop is the full Senate; it’s already passed the House.
Those behind the proposal including Rep. Scott Craig of Rapid City, are saying numerous people in the education world support the measure.
But New Underwood superintendent Jeff Marlette questioned that.
"First of all I would ask, ‘where are they?’ Because they have not yet shown up to testify at any hearing," Marlette said.
Multiple education groups spoke in opposition to the bill. Some said it could potentially make schools more dangerous.
Supporters said if school boards don't want to have armed staff, they have the freedom to say no. Sen. Russell Olson of Wentworth, asked why schools are speaking out against this bill when they often ask for local control.
"Do you just want the easy decisions or when it gets tough, then it comes back to the legislature? Make up your mind," Olson said.
But some outside of education also spoke out against the plan.
"As a father of a newborn, beautiful girl, the last thing I want to do is send her to a school where I know or don't know who in the heck is going to be having a gun in that school," Karl Kroger of Pierre said.
Supporters say people can take that issue up with their local school board and be involved in the decision process of whether armed school staff would be beneficial in their communities.
Lawmakers passed the bill with one amendment. It used to say school boards would decide behind closed doors whether or not to have an armed staff member. The Senate committee said the discussion should happen in a public meeting.