The proposal to let South Dakota schools arm volunteer “sentinels” is headed to Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s desk.
Rejecting a final attempt by Democrats to defeat it, the House agreed with Senate amendments to the school sentinels bill and passed is 40-19.
The bill gives school districts the option of arming teachers, staff or other volunteers to defend against shooters and other attacks, though it does not require any school district to implement such a program.
The Senate had changed the sentinels bill in several ways, including requiring the decision to adopt a sentinels program be made in public by a school board. The House had to either accept those changes, reject the bill, or appoint a conference committee to negotiate a final version.
Rep. Scott Parsley, D-Madison, said his hope in supporting a conference committee was to defeat the sentinels bill and replace it with a summer study of school security.
A majority of legislators disagreed, saying the local control in the bill will let only schools that want armed volunteers adopt the program.
They rejected Parsley’s motion to send the bill back to the drawing board and instead approved the Senate amendments.
It now heads to Daugaard, who hasn’t said whether he’ll sign it. The governor has said he likes the concept of the school sentinels proposal and is studying the specifics before making a final decision.