It was one of the most controversial bills during this year's legislative session. But one month into the school year, no school district in South Dakota has shown a formal interest in arming teachers or staff with guns to work as so-called 'school sentinels' inside the building.
It's the start of a new school year in South Dakota and this year, districts across the state have a new option for security. But it's not an option many are embracing.
"I think it's a possible accident waiting to happen. I just don't think it's the way to go," Beresford Superintendent Brian Field said.
In Beresford, the mascot may be a watchdog but officials say you will not find a school sentinel roaming the halls anytime soon.
"It's not a direction that the Beresford Schools is going to move. We believe the addition of firearms in schools is not the way we want to go," Field said.
Beresford does not have a school resource officer but Field says they do have police officers in town and several security measures in place at school.
"I think a lot of schools are fearful that putting arms in the hands of school personnel, security personnel or volunteers...it's just not the way to go," Field said.
While Beresford may not want a school sentinel program, the lawmakers who passed the legislation this spring pointed West River and said many of those rural districts may take advantage of this new security option.
"We are a place where we feel we have a very safe learning environment for our students and we work hard on that," Lyman County School Superintendent Doug Eppard said.
In Presho, South Dakota, the Lyman County School District Superintendent says the school sentinel idea has barely been discussed.
"We just feel with the resources we have, we've got a couple deputies that live in the town of Presho. Our sheriff's office is in Kennebec; that's where we have another school. It's just something we haven't considered at this time," Eppard said.
The reality is a month into the school year, the Attorney General's Office, which set up the two-week training and rules for school sentinels, says there has been no real interest from any district in the state.
State Representative Manny Steele, who co-sponsored the bill, is not concerned.
"I think it's an excellent bill that gives them opportunity if they choose and it's there this year, next year, like I say the year after Ben, it's just there and available if they choose to do so," Steele said.
Steele says the legislation leaves the door open if a district wants to exercise the sentinel option in the future.
"I like local control and this is what this does. It's, 'We've set our guidelines.' And the 'do's' and 'dont's' of some of it and the requirements, but the flexibility is still there for the local school," Steele said.
In Presho, school officials say they would be hard-pressed to find someone who would want to carry a gun in the school in the future.
"To really strap on a gun, wear it all day long, have the kids visible with that and then have that scenario if it ever did happen be able to do that?" Eppard said. "We're not like that as school employees. We're not trained and we're not wired that way I don't feel."
In Beresford, Field agrees, saying his district is going to leave law enforcement up to the professionals.
"We're trained as educators working with kids and I believe that handling weapons needs to be with law enforcement and those people that are trained to handle situations like that," Field said.
And that's why schools have been silent on their interest in arming sentinels so far this year.
Mitchell Christian was reportedly considering school sentinels earlier this summer but told KELOLAND News over the phone last week that it has no plans to implement the program.