South Dakota to allow armed teachers in schools

Joanna Baginska a fourth-grade teacher from Odyssey Charted School, in American Fork, Utah,  aims a gun 27 December 2012, Teachers will not be forced to carry guns under the South Dakota law

The US state of South Dakota has enacted a law allowing school districts to arm teachers and other school staff.

The law's backers say it will prevent mass school shootings like a December massacre in Connecticut that killed 26.

Amid a push by the White House to strengthen gun laws, the bill reflects a growing divide in the US over whether more or fewer guns keep people safe.

The measure does not force school districts to arm teachers and will not require teachers to carry guns.

But it allows each school district to choose if staff could be armed. It takes effect in July.

Under the Republican-sponsored bill, school staff given permission to carry firearms on campus will be known as "school sentinels". The state has given a law enforcement commission the task of establishing a training programme for the sentinels.

Several representatives of school boards, teachers and other staff spoke against the bill in legislative hearings, arguing guns would make schools more dangerous.

But sponsor Representative Scott Craig said this week had heard from a number of school officials who back it.

Mr Craig said rural districts do not have the money to hire full-time police officers.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    What happens if the armed teachers or staff have a bad day?

    You either arm every single person in the school or none at all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    I have the feeling this won't help matters.

    Arm Teachers? People who want to do that kind of stuff will just use surprise on the teachers and take them out first... or use alternative methods to commit crimes like this.

    Also ups the risk of a teacher breaking and using the gun. Sure another teacher can stop them, but by the time another teacher enters, a classroom could be dead.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    When will the first parent of a child just started at school be shot on entering simply because he/she was not recognised as a (theoretically) 'safe' person?

    Teachers are trained to teach, they are not experts on criminal psychology, nor are they likely to have lightening-fast reactions.

    Arming Teachers makes them the first target - they would have no chance against surprise automatic fire.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    Having been a teacher who went through a stress-related breakdown, I cannot begin to describe how astonishingly dumb this idea is. Had I been armed at the time, goodness only knows what could have happened.
    This also means that a disturbed teenager now knows precisely where to go to get a gun if there are none in their home.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    The NRA argues that carrying a gun is a 'personal freedom'.All freedom comes at a cost If the cost of that freedom is putting their and others children at more risk from maniacs with guns, perhaps including their teachers. It must be time to limit the freedom for the sake of all.


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