Members of the South Dakota House Education Committee are talking about a bill that would allow school boards to arm teachers or other staff on school property.
Today's discussion involved testimony from representatives, educators and other invested parties, some in support of the bill and others strongly against it.
The bill was created as one possible solution to keeping students safe in the wake of recent tragedies. However, some South Dakotans feel arming teachers, no matter how much training is involved, will not solve anything.
"I grew up with guns and have used them many times and still use them today, but I still, I don't think I would be comfortable having one in my classroom," said Beresford Band Director Joel Shotwell.
It's a sentiment many educators share, saying they are in a school to teach students, not to make life or death decisions.
"I know they say you can train them but I still think there's such a difference between law military personnel or enforcement officers, that is what their trained to do...our people are trained to be educational leaders for students, they're not trained in carrying weapons and utilizing those weapons to take a life," said Beresford Superintendent Brian Field.
Shotwell says when he's in his classroom, he's only thinking about teaching students.
"If I'm worried about that, I don't think I can do a very good job," said Shotwell.
The students we spoke with today said knowing a gun was in the classroom would also distract them from learning.
"When students see like someone with a gun, even if we haven't had an incident like that, it gives them the fear looming over their head that, that could happen to us," said Beresford sophomore Tiffany Hoffman.
These Beresford teachers and students say they would be more comfortable if their safety was left up to law enforcement of trained school resource officers. However, the sponsors and supporters of the bill say some rural South Dakota schools do not have immediate access to any law enforcement.
"I know there are some country schools and things that don't have the immediate access, they might not even have local law enforcement, they might rely on county sheriffs," said Field.
While armed teachers might help in those situations, these students hope the state legislature will think very carefully about bringing guns into their school.
"You can't just give the teachers a gun and say ok, here, now they're safe," said Beresford Sophomore Maddie Antonsen.
"A gun is a very dangerous thing and I think you have to think a lot about it before you put it in a place where kids are daily," said Beresford Sophomore Bailey Nelson.
Tuesday, December 3 2013 10:48 PM EST2013-12-04 03:48:06 GMT
Canton residents have voted down a proposal to build a new aquatic center. The city required 60% of voters to approve the bond to pass; only 50.9 voted yes. Canton financial officer Kyle Cwach said 412 votedMore >>
Canton residents have voted down a proposal to build a new aquatic center.More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 11:45 PM EST2013-12-06 04:45:57 GMT
Working construction out in this cold would be a horrible thing. For the workers building the new Sioux Falls Events Center...this wintry blast would be absolute misery. But it's not...because theyMore >>
Construction workers that are building the new Sioux Falls Events Center finished an important phase of the project just in time to dodge the frigid cold. More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 11:32 PM EST2013-12-06 04:32:58 GMT
LUCAN, Minn. (AP) - Authorities say the remains of a second child have been recovered from the scene of a farmhouse fire in southwestern Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says theMore >>
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says the body was found late Thursday afternoon. Two victims have now been recovered.More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 10:30 PM EST2013-12-06 03:30:09 GMT
They can be mild or extreme, quick or constant, But no matter what back and neck pains are no picnic. Elana Norman's job doesn't require much heavy lifting, but it still can take it's toll. "When whenMore >>
They can be mild or extreme, quick or constant, But no matter what back and neck pains are no picnic. Elana Norman's job doesn't require much heavy lifting, but it still can take it's toll.More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 10:23 PM EST2013-12-06 03:23:39 GMT
Students, parents, school cooks, and nutritionists have reached out to her. "We all want our kids to be healthy, but letting Washington tell schools and South Dakota what's best for their students isMore >>
Representative Kristi Noem wants to loosen the standards on the school lunch program. Thursday, she introduced a bill called the Reducing Federal Mandates on School Lunch Act. More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 7:23 PM EST2013-12-06 00:23:40 GMT
18-year-old Brian David Anderson and 17-year-old Trevor Kruthoff were in court Thursday. They face murder charges in the death of 20-year-old Jordan LeBeau and attempted murder for allegedly shootingMore >>
18-year-old Brian David Anderson and 17-year-old Trevor Kruthoff were in court Thursday. They face murder charges in the death of 20-year-old Jordan LeBeau and attempted murder for allegedly shooting LeBeau's father, 48-year-old Jason LeBeau. More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 6:32 PM EST2013-12-05 23:32:27 GMT
RAPID CITY -- The South Dakota Board of Regents says a new study shows the state needs to produce more university graduates to deal with the threat of a shortage of qualified workers. The study indicatesMore >>
The South Dakota Board of Regents says a new study shows the state needs to produce more university graduates to deal with the threat of a shortage of qualified workers.More >>