I admit from the start that I don’t know the difference between school-resource officers, who here in Pierre are uniformed members of the local police force, and the school sentinels that Rep. Scott Craig, R-Rapid City, wants to allow in schools through his legislation, HB 1087. Nor do I know what the legislation would allow to happen that isn’t already happening here in Pierre’s schools.
The legislation says individual school boards “may create, establish, and supervise the arming of school employees, hired security personnel or volunteers” to deter physical threats and defend schools, their personnel, their students and members of the public on the school premises “against violent attack by any terrorist, criminal, deranged person, or other perpetrator of deadly force.”
Among the legislation’s many other sponsors are two of the Legislature’s lawyers, House Republican leader David Lust and House Speaker Brian Gosch, and former law enforcement officer, Sen. Craig Tieszen, all Rapid City Republicans.
UPDATE: State law 13-32-7 prohibits firearms, air guns and other dangerous weapons in schools and on school premises. The ban contains an exception for a law enforcement officer. The Craig bill would essentially expand the exemption to any person the school board wants.