South Dakota Guv Signs Bill Allowing Armed ‘Sentinels’ In Schools

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) on Friday signed the so-called “school sentinels” bill that will allow local school districts to place armed volunteers in the classroom, the Argus Leader reported.

The bill emerged as a major point of contention during the current legislative session, but supporters highlighted the fact that the measure will not force any school to accept sentinels on campus. Instead, the law will empower school boards to implement sentinels programs — an option that supporters said is important for small schools that lack a robust law enforcement presence in their communities. But the bill drew opposition from many superintendents and education groups. 

Under the law, the armed personnel must be trained by state officials and approved by law enforcement. The New York Times reported that Daugaard’s signing of the bill likely makes South Dakota “the first state to pass a law that specifically allows teachers to carry firearms,”although teachers do not necessarily have to serve as the sentinels under the law.