My ‘Opinion’ on the School Sentinels Bill

Trust me, there are many compelling arguments as to why the Sentinel Bill is legislative stupidity on many levels;

A proposal to let schools arm volunteer “sentinels” for defense passed the South Dakota Senate Wednesday and could be headed to Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s desk.

The school sentinels bill gives every school district the option to arm teachers, staff or community volunteers, but doesn’t require any district to bring guns into schools.

Allowing guns in schools to make them safer is similar to storing gasoline next to your backyard firepit to make it safer.

But I’m sure my commenters will have plenty to say about whether it makes schools safer or not. My biggest problem with the passage of this bill is how our state continually comes across as backwoods hillbillies because of our state legislators. Even if this bill passes, there won’t be a single school board in this state that will approve having armed sentinels in their schools. So why even move ahead with this? You don’t heal a black eye by punching it again and you don’t make schools safer from gun violence by allowing more guns in schools.



18 comments ↓

#1 Bill on 02.28.13 at 3:55 pm

A better idea is to come up with State standards for qualified hired security for schools that want to pay for it. Volunteer “Sentinels” may sound intriguing but is short-sighted. What are their training standards? Are they competent with a firearm? Must they carry personal liability ins? Covered by the school legally? Many more questions that answers…

#2 Winston on 02.28.13 at 4:18 pm

If the sentinel bill supporters really mean business, then why do they not fund it?

Do not give me this local control nonsense argument. Our state legislature is part-time and is often referred to as
a “citizen legislature.” Well, if that is the case then put your money where your mouth is legislature, or else stop the theatrics and the image posturing at the expense of our children’s future… please!

#3 Pathloss on 02.28.13 at 5:34 pm

The ‘community volunteers’ bothers me most. It’s one level below rent-a-cop. They’re not trusted with fire arms and radical parents shouldn’t be either. I think one police officer assigned to several nearby grade, middle, and/or high schools is the way to go. It would spread police about the city. There would be community interface and improved emergency response. Hire and train a few more cops. It’s proven to be cheaper than cameras or lock downs.

#4 Pathloss on 02.28.13 at 5:41 pm

Instead of a ‘police state’, a police security walk through certain times of the day. Park an empty police car out front. They sit in the garage downtown, why not.

#5 scott on 02.28.13 at 7:11 pm

So the legislature will arm teachers to protect the kids from the mentally ill who they bent over backwards to let buy guns. It seems kind of dumb to me.

#6 hmr59 on 02.28.13 at 8:53 pm

Couldn’t have said it any better, Scott.

#7 Craig on 02.28.13 at 9:26 pm

“Even if this bill passes, there won’t be a single school board in this state that will approve having armed sentinels in their schools.”

Don’t be so sure. Several hve already spoken out in support of the bill. I know there was one West river district that made a comment about being 25 minutes away from the nearest emergency responders and they felt this was a viable option.

Keep in mind the Sentinel Bill doesn’t require school districts to arm people, it nearly gives them that option. Whether or not that is a good idea or not remains to be seen.

#8 Detroit Lewis on 02.28.13 at 10:09 pm

Craig – you are often the voice of reason on this site, but have to say this; COMBATING VIOLENCE WITH VIOLENCE IS NEVER THE ANSWER.

#9 Poly43 on 03.01.13 at 12:19 am

Representatives of school boards, school administrators and teachers oppose the bill. They say arming teachers could make schools more dangerous, lead to accidental shootings and put guns in the hands of people not adequately trained to shoot in emergency situations.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/SD-Senate-approves-bill-on-arming-school-teachers-4314653.php#ixzz2MGYFZ216

Only in a state that thinks thune and noem are real reps is this even possible.

WAKE UP SD

#10 Testor15 on 03.01.13 at 8:15 am

REMEMBER GEORGE ZIMMERMAN!

#11 OleSlewFoot on 03.01.13 at 8:20 am

I thought early on in this debate, someone was on one of the local news shows stating Rapid City was doing this already in “some” schools – with local police. They have had at least one incident of an armed student they had to deal with.

Don’t most schools in the larger cities in SD already have full time police officers. They just don’t carry guns. I know Brandon Valley did back when my kids went there.

#12 Craig on 03.01.13 at 9:04 am

DL: “COMBATING VIOLENCE WITH VIOLENCE IS NEVER THE ANSWER.”

I just don’t know L3wis… I just don’t know. I mean if a man is shooting up a Walmart and there was an off-duty police officer present who pulls his weapon and fires three shots centermass into the gunman killing them and stopping the rampage – that seems like a good thing. However would you call that reaction to be violence?

If we sent troops into a nation involved in a conflict where innocent civilians are being targeted or where genocide is rampant and those troops are forced to engage the enemy with force… is that violent?

I think it just depends upon your definition of violence. Thus hypothetically if a kid comes to school with a gun and starts shooting at fellow students and there is a school administrator with a weapon who fires back and ends the shooting – wouldn’t that be a good use for force?

I know we are speaking hypotheticals, and I know we can just as easily assume that administrator would panic and end up shooting an innocent person – but in theory if things worked out, wouldn’t we think it is a good thing?

I can see both sides of this idea – initially I thought it was a knee jerk reaction and was idiotic, but the truth is the bill doesn’t require districts to have weapons on site, it merely gives them that right. This means when someone approaches a school they would no longer know that school is unarmed and instead they will have to stop and wonder if there are guns inside. Will that act as a deterrent? Can’t really say – but can it hurt?

I also do have to wonder what would have happened in some of our most horrific school shootings if there would have been someone able to shoot back. Maybe it would have led to even more violence – maybe it wouldn’t make a difference, but what if it forced the gunman to retreat and possible take his or her own life for fear of being caught or wounded?

In truth, I’m not a fan of armed teachers or administrators because there is no requirements surrounding training. Police officers fire thousands upon thousands of rounds in training – they practice scenarios where they might need to fire. They undergo psychological screenings and extensive background checks. Yet even a seasoned police officer may end up shooting an innocent bystanding during a shootout, and their accuracy in an actual shooting even is nowhere close to what they accuracy in a range is.

So the idea of a random teacher who has a locked cabinet in their classroom where a gun resides seems like it could end badly. Hard to say what might happen and maybe there are too many assumptions being tossed around from both sides.

What I do know is there are already thousands and thousands of schools that have armed security in place already. There are thousands of schools that have armed police officers patrolling the halls, and even in those schools that people see what they think is an unarmed police office are actually armed much of the time albeit with a hidden firearm on an ankle holster.

So really we already have armed “sentinals” in our schools – and it hasn’t resulted in random kids being shot for no good reason like some fear may happen. So at the end of the day – I honestly don’t think this is as big of an issue as some make it out to be. If a school doesn’t want guns, their school boards and administrators simply won’t allow them. End of story.

All of that said – why hasn’t anyone suggested giving TASERs out to administrators? They are a non-lethal way of ending a conflict and although they might not have the range of a traditional firearm, in the rather confined spaces of a classroom they potentially could stop a gunman from inflicting further damage. They aren’t a perfect solution, but I can’t see how they would be a bad thing.

#13 Hammerhead on 03.01.13 at 9:57 am

This bill reminds me of giving Barney Fife a full clip instead of one bullet.

#14 rufusx on 03.01.13 at 11:30 am

So – it depends on what your definition of is – is – eh Craig?

#15 pathloss on 03.01.13 at 11:47 am

There’s probably already guns with some teachers. Maybe not in school but in ther cars outside. Making it obvious is a problem. Students should not have to fear teachers. I disagree with tasers. You have to be witin 30′ and they must be displayed obviously. A concealed handgun is an answer but there must be proof of training and a mental evaluation. A teacher could snap go postal. It’s at least as likely as a student shooter.

#16 pathloss on 03.01.13 at 11:57 am

George Zimmerman may or may not have been justified. A teacher who uses a gun would face a similar fate. This said, violence is not an answer. Most teachers I’ve known would take a bullet to save a student before they shot one. It seems police presence is a better answer. Not all of the time but being obvious walking the halls when they’ll be noticed.

#17 Winston on 03.01.13 at 1:03 pm

It’s an Archie Bunker solution.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lDb0Dn8OXE

#18 Detroit Lewis on 03.04.13 at 4:35 pm

Winston, great find! I love Bunker. LMFAO!

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