On Friday, Governor Dennis Daugaard (R) signed into law legislation authorizing local school boards to allow armed teachers, staff or volunteers in schools. House Bill 1087, introduced by state Representative Scott Craig (R-33) and cosponsored by more than 25 other state legislators, passed in the state House by a 42-to 27 vote on January 29. The state Senate approved an amended version of HB 1087 by a 21 to 14 vote on February 27, and the House concurred with the Senate amendments by a 40-19 vote on March 4. This bill will take effect on July 1, 2013.
HB 1087 will leave decisions relating to armed school security to the discretion of local school boards. Under this bill, each local school board, if it deems necessary and appropriate, will be allowed to arm school employees, hire security guards or utilize volunteers to protect against violent attacks. Any school board that allows armed security in schools must inform local law enforcement and coordinate with them appropriately.
This bill provides a great amount of flexibility based on the security needs of individual school districts. HB 1087 removes the barriers on localities and enables them to enhance school security. Rather than a "one size fits all" mandate, HB 1087 will empower local school districts to decide for themselves the best way to protect their children. For example, some school districts in urban areas already have local police resource officers in their schools and would not require any additional security. This bill will provide additional options and tools to school districts looking to provide additional security to our schoolchildren.
Thank you to Governor Daugaard for signing this pro-gun reform into law and to the state legislators who voted in its favor.