COPY-Siouxland schools choosing to not arm teachers - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

COPY-Siouxland schools choosing to not arm teachers

The sentinel law went into effect July 1st and for many it caused some confusion.

"People were thinking with the sentinel program, oh my teachers going to have a gun or my janitors going to have a gun, it give it options," said Sgt. James Heeren.

North Sioux City Police Officer Sergeant James Heeran is a Dakota Valley school board member who understands why they developed the program, but says right now the law has too many issues.

"It's somewhat flawed currently, there's not much standard for training of the sentinels. I understand what they were trying to do, but it's a long way from being into play," said Sgt. Heeren.

On Friday a South Dakota panel did approve rules for training teachers or staff to carry guns.
It will require sentinels to complete 80 hours of training in firearm efficiency use of force and other skills.

State officials don't expect any training to take place until next year, but that doesn't mean anyone's been interested. Siouxland districts like Dakota Valley are some of the many to not to take part.

"Informally, there were discussions with some of our school board members, and no one was really interested in putting an armed guard or armed sentinel in our schools,"said Superintendent Al Leber.

Others such as Yankton, Elk Point, and Gaylin-Volin have also decided against it.
South Dakota State Senator Lederman says it might not take a hold here in Siouxland because it's designed for less populated areas.

"It's a good law and I think we're going to see some districts use it, maybe not ours, but I think it will become a useful tool for those rural districts," said Lederman.

Something Officer Heeren agrees with.

"I see this more coming from rural school districts where the sheriff patrols the area and they may be 156 miles from the school when something goes down, so I think this is what this is more implied for," said Heeren.

Heeren adds schools in populated areas such as this commonly have resources officers, and work closely with law enforcement to develop action plans in the event of emergency.

Only time with tell if the law gains any steam in South Dakota's school districts, but at least for now, Siouxland schools are opting to stay away from the controversial sentinel program.

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