The school sentinel bill has passed in the South Dakota Senate, but the House must approve amendments before the measure will go to Governor Dennis Daugaard.
The bill would allow school districts to arm employees, hired security personnel or volunteers. The Senate debated it for nearly an hour Wednesday afternoon before passing it by a vote of 21 to 14.
One of the sponsors of the bill, Sen. Craig Tieszen, says the group that came up with the bill agreed it is an issue that needs to be settled locally. Tieszen stressed that House Bill 1087 doesn't put guns in schools; instead, it allows local districts to make the decision if that is needed.
A former school administrator, Sen. Chuck Welke, testified that most teachers don't want this measure put into place, saying, "We already ask a lot of our teachers."
The Senate amended the bill to allow citizens to refer local district decision on sentinels to a public vote. A Senate Committee earlier amended the bill so that any decision to allow sentinels would have to be made in public.