Petition against the South Dakota 'School Sentinel' bill - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Petition against the South Dakota 'School Sentinel' bill

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Another school shooting today, this one in Atlanta.

After several shots were fired, hitting a student in the neck, a school resource officer was able to disarm the gunman - and place the teenage shooter under arrest.

Not every school district has the budget for resource officers.

Which is why some South Dakota lawmakers are looking to pass the 'School Sentinel' bill. It would allow districts to make plans to arm their staff.

But not everybody thinks arming teachers is a good idea.

KSFY News spoke with the leader of a group who started a petition against the bill.

The web-site Smart School Safety has more than 600 signatures so far on its online petition.

Ben Nesselhuf, chairman of the South Dakota Democratic party says the petition is a way for people to make their voices heard.

South Dakota house members passed the 'School Sentinel' bill this week but not everyone is happy about the possibility of armed teachers.

"I myself am a gun owner, my wife and I own several guns. We understand. We have a respect for those. I think people who understand guns are probably a little hesitant to put more guns into classrooms," Nesselhuf said.

The South Dakota Democratic party started the online petition in response.

"The online petition was developed as a way of making certain that our legislators know where the people of South Dakota are at and that there's a very large group of folks and I would argue, the vast majority, do not believe putting more guns in schools will make our children safer," Nesselhuf said.

Nesselhuf believes arming teachers with guns is an accident waiting to happen.

"If we interject a gun, a firearm into a situation where you have twenty-five elementary school students, are we going to be able to ensure that is always properly handled and that at no point is there going to be a situation where an accident could occur," Nesselhuf said.

Nesselhuf doesn't rule out guns completely, he is willing to consider other solutions than armed teachers.

"I think armed guards in schools is a great alternative because then you're talking trained police officers, or people who have gone through training, that are identified as security. I think that could be a solution," Nesselhuf said.

We polled more than four hundred educators across the state about the 'School Sentinel' bill.

We asked if it becomes law, would you be in favor of your school board allowing teachers to be armed in schools?

There was a wide gap...

Twenty-two percent said yes, while seventy-eight percent said no.

When asked if they'd be okay with armed guards in schools...

The results were much closer....

Fifty-two percent said yes while forty eight percent said no.

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