South Dakota Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard on Friday signed into law a bill to allow teachers to carry guns in the classroom.
The education community stiffly opposed the measure, according the Rapid City Journal. With it, school boards can decide whether to adopt “sentinel programs” to arm teachers or other school personnel with guns.
Though some states have provisions in their gun laws allowing teachers to carry firearms in the classroom, South Dakota’s law is believed to be the first in the nation to specifically allow it, according to the New York Times.
Calls came to arm teachers after the shooting massacre at a Connecticut elementary school in December, with supporters saying doing so could prevent future tragedies.
South Dakota school administrators and teachers said arming personnel could lead to accidental shootings and put weapons in the hands of inadequately trained people, the Associated Press reported.
The new law doesn’t force school districts to arm teachers or force teachers to carry guns, according to the AP, and local law enforcement agencies will have to sign off on a school’s sentinel program.