The House Education Committee narrowly endorsed legislation this morning that would authorize local school boards to post armed civilians at their schools.
The 8-7 vote came after an amendment requiring firearms training for the so-called school sentinels, as well as approval from the county sheriff. The amendment also puts school board discussions of whether to participate in the program in executive session, out of public view.
Some individual educators endorsed the measure, but lobbying groups representing teachers, administrators and school boards all were firmly opposed.
“The folks who are most involved in education … don’t think guns in schools are a very good idea,” said Rep. Ray Ring, D-Vermillion.
Proponents said the bill doesn’t force school boards to participate, and those interested should at least have the option.
“We’re representing the whole state,” said Elizabeth May, R-Kyle, who cited the expansive Harding County as an example of a school where local law enforcement is far away. “There are schools where we can’t rely on law enforcement.”
House Bill 1087 will advance to the House floor.