Share story

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said Wednesday that his office has seen an uptick in interest from school districts about allowing approved employees to carry guns after deadly school shootings in Florida and Texas.

Training for school officials who want to become so-called school sentinels will occur this summer, Jackley told the Argus Leader . The program allows for the arming of school employees, hired security personnel or volunteers.

“After Florida and Texas, we’ve received significant requests on this,” Jackley told the newspaper, referring to a February shooting at a high school in Florida and one last week at a southeast Texas high school that left 10 dead.

In South Dakota, Attorney General spokeswoman Sara Rabern said in an email that one district has signed up for the required training, which will be held from July 30-Aug. 10. Six districts have inquired about the training, but their names can’t be released as a matter of safety, Rabern said.

State law requires anyone acting as a school sentinel to successfully complete the training designed by the same commission that sets training standards for law enforcement officers. It includes firearms proficiency, first aid, use of force and weapons retention and storage.

State regulations say a trainee must have a valid concealed weapons permit, have fingerprints taken by a law enforcement officer, get examined by a licensed physician and have a high school degree, among other requirements.

South Dakota legislative leaders in February encouraged districts to adopt the program after the rampage at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people.

South Dakota lawmakers passed a school sentinel law in March 2013, a few months after the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut. The Tri-Valley School District in 2016 became the first in South Dakota to approve a school sentinel policy.

Tri-Valley adopted the program because of concern it could take too long for authorities to reach the rural school facility in a crisis.


Information from: Argus Leader,