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Future Teachers React to Sentinel Bill

January 30, 2013, 4:57 PM by Brady Mallory

Future Teachers React to Sentinel Bill

Senior education major Liz Orris starts student teaching in a matter of days, and looking back, the Augustana College student always knew classroom is where she belongs.

"Ever since I was in kindergarten," Orris said.  "Whenever I was out for the summer, I always asked my mom, 'When will school start?  When can I buy school supplies?'"

But lately, there are bigger questions in the world of education.  The Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, has left a lasting impact.

"I was just devastated.  I heard a kid pretended to be dead and hearing all those gunshots and stuff," Orris said.

Freshman education major Ashley-Marie Paladie has seen the damage it has done to the nation firsthand.

"Doing in class visits, there was - it was definitely more visible in the teachers.  A lot of them took the steps to lock their doors," Paladie said.

Some South Dakota lawmakers believe they have found a way to take away some of that concern. The Sentinel Bill -- which would allow schools to have an armed guard, volunteer or staff member -- has passed the House and is now headed to a Senate Committee.  The bill leaves discretion up to the schools and more local control to districts - especially those that are not located near law enforcement--to train and arm their own security and staff.

However, both Orris and Paladie said they do not support the bill that could ultimately put guns in their hands when they enter their careers.  They understand lawmakers are trying to beef up safety in schools, but they think this idea just adds more questions rather than answers.

"What if something happened?  What if the student got a hold of it?  Where would they have us keep them?" Orris said.

Had they known this would be a part of the conversation, would they have decided not go into teaching?  Though Orris and Paladie say no to guns, they only say yes to a future in the classroom and would not entertain the thought of switching careers.

"It's a passion thing.  I enjoy the teaching.  Maybe location-wise, where I would've gone, it would've impacted that," Paladie said.

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