Thursday, July 18, 2013

Oops, SD Republicans passed another flawed bill.

The school sentinel bill was a classic example of how politics operates in South Dakota when it comes to education.  Step 1: find a wedge issue to force on school districts without really getting any input before writing the bill.  Step 2: ignore the people that the law would impact (teachers, students, parents of students, principals, superintendents, school boards).  Step 3: pass the bill with flaws in it.  Step 4:  Pat yourself on the back for a "job well done."  Step 5: Wonder why people are upset and not taking advantage of the great opportunity that you offered.

Other than the fact not a single school district has taken the state up on the offer of letting teachers carry loaded weapons and that other state's schools can't get insurance if they do arm (Kansas, Indiana, and Oregon), it appears that the law was written incorrectly when it comes to the training of gun-toting teachers.  

South Dakota commission delayed a vote Thursday on proposed rules for training teachers, other school staff members or volunteers to carry guns to improve security in school buildings.
The Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Training Commission originally planned to certify the so-called sentinels — essentially a license similar to the certification process the commission uses for law enforcement officers. Upon learning that the Legislature authorized the panel to train sentinels but not certify them, the commission changed the proposed rules so it will merely tell a school district when someone completes training.
What is the problem with just training and not certification?  A fairly significant one according to AG Jackely:
South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said the change is significant because it gives the commission less ability to immediately disqualify sentinels for misconduct indicating they should no longer be allowed to carry guns in schools. A school board could still decide if a sentinel no longer should carry guns in schools, officials said.  
It appears that if information came out on a person that should not be armed, the commission might have their hands tied.  I think that the best solution is for school districts to avoid the risk of liability and avoid arming your teachers.  

Pogany, the only person to testify at Thursday's commission hearing, said he is worried that the program could expose school districts to legal liability if something goes wrong.
"Our concern is about what happens when a civilian is armed and the danger just bringing that weapon into a school causes," he told the commission.
May be it is time to actual LISTEN to those involved on the ground and do away with the whole BAD idea.

(ALL 3 Representatives from District 6 voted for the bill.)

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