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School Gunslinger Program Remains Unused; Greenfield, Monroe Wrong on Confidentiality

Last updated on 2015.02.15

During the Senate Judiciary hearing on Senate Bill 162 Thursday, Senator Brock Greenfield (R-2/Clark) said he had patterned his plan to arm certain legislators to play security guard after the 2013 school gunslinger bill. Then-Rep. Greenfield thought it was a good idea to distract teachers and put students at risk by bringing more guns to school, so why not apply the same logic to the Capitol?

Senator Greenfield's effort to link his Capitol gunslinger bill to the school gunslinger (sorry—we're supposed to call them sentinels) bill inspired Senator Troy Heinert (D-26A/Mission) to ask a logical question:

Sen. Heinert to Greenfield: "Senator, do you know how many schools have used the school sentinel bill?"

Greenfield: "No, and I don't believe that information would be publicly available because of the confidentiality—er, Mr. Tieszen*, I saw three fingers sticking up."

Dick Tieszen, lobbyist, in audience: "No, that is a zero."

Greenfield: "Oh. Zero."

Chairman Craig Tieszen: "Senator Heinert?"

Heinert: "I do believe the answer is zero" [Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, South Dakota Legislature, Pierre, SD, 2015.02.12, timestamp 34:40].

After a question about current security measures in the Capitol, Senator Jeff Monroe (R-24/Pierre) contradicted Senator Heinert's and Dick Tieszen's statements that no one is using the school sentinel program:

Sen. Monroe: "The answer to the question, are any schools— have any schools enacted the sentinel bill, the answer is not zero, and for the confidentiality again, I'm not going to tell who. I just wanted to clear that up. That's all I had, Mr. Chairman."

Sen. Tieszen: "Senator Heinert?"

Heinert: "I'm not here to debate the good Senator from Pierre, but the answer is zero."

Sen. Tieszen: "All right, the debate stops. This is question time to start with. If you have a question, direct it to someone who testified. If not, we'll—discussion in a moment" [Senate Judiciary, 2015.02.12, timestamp 36:10].

Do some schools have sentinel gunslingers roaming their halls? And do confidentiality prevent them from telling us about that lurking danger to our children?

The answers, Mr. Chairman, are no and no. In reverse order:

Back in 2013, House Education amended the school gunslinger bill to keep discussion and implementation of the program secret in each school. Senate State Affairs quite sensibly eliminated that secrecy clause, thus requiring the House to vote on that bill again. Then-Rep. Greenfield cast an aye on that concurrence vote; had he cast an eye, he'd have known he was voting for a law that contains no confidentiality clause. Review SDCL 13–64, ARSD 2:01:15 and ARSD 2:01:16, the chapter and rules enacting and managing the school sentinel program, and you will not find a single clause saying that schools shall or may keep their use of the school sentinel provisions secret. Part of the 2013 bill, now SDCL 13-64-7 (you read this when you voted on it, right, Brock?), allows school district residents to refer implementation of the school sentinel program to a public vote, meaning the decision to implement is necessarily public.

That means that when I call a school district and say, "Got school sentinels?" they have to tell me. When I call the Attorney General's office to ask whether any schools have submitted applicants for school sentinel training and whether any applicants have taken and passed that training, the Attorney General's office can tell me numbers and maybe even names.

But the only number the Attorney General's office has is zero. I called yesterday, and spokesperson Sara Rabern confirmed that, since the enactment of training and certification rules on September 17, 2013, no schools have submitted applications, no school staff have come to Pierre for training, and no teachers or janitors or other school personnel are currently roaming our school halls as certified school sentinels. This fact is consistent with previous reports of skepticism and widespread condemnation of the school gunslinger program among school officials, as well as concerns that arming school staff would cause schools to lose their liability insurance.

I have contacted Senator Monroe to ask where he got his information to the contrary. I await his response.

Update 2015.02.15 11:18 CST: I originally reported, based on my listening to the SDPB audio of the hearing, that Senator Craig Tieszen had made the "zero" hand gesture and made the comment "No, that is a zero." Senator Tieszen informs us (see below in comment section) that that gesture and comment came not from him but from lobbyist Dick Tieszen, who was in the audience at the hearing. I have amended the above text to reflect Senator Tieszen's clarification, and I apologize for the error.


  1. Tim 2015.02.14

    "The answers, Mr. Chairman, are no and no. In reverse order:"
    Cory, you reversed your answers, that will confuse them you know. ;-)

  2. 96Tears 2015.02.14

    Thanks, Cory! You've warmed me with laughter on this 5 degree, windy day. The Senate appears overrun with morons. Greenfield is the kind of cowardly brute who deserves what ever bad karma comes his way. Monroe must leave a slime trail when he crosses the room. Are their districts completely out of smarter people to send to Pierre?

  3. larry kurtz 2015.02.14

    Teens are dying by their own hands, Rapid City is a tinderbox, roads and bridges are crumbling, a Canadian company is being urged to seize land for a climate-killing pipeline, teachers are fleeing in droves, the Black Hills are being destroyed by retired white people, and a few GOP legislators are worried about their NRA ratings.

    South Dakota: Land of Infinite Volatility.

  4. 96Tears 2015.02.14

    Whoops! Monroe lives in Pierre! My bad. Do they let him in the Capitol and call him Senator because he's homeless and lives in a van down by the river?

  5. Beverly Meyer 2015.02.14

    The more I read about those attempting to run SD the more I wonder is this a joke, is this for real, is this a hoax?? It is positively frightening- like children playing "politician." No wonder they need such a lot of $$$ From the't

  6. MC 2015.02.14

    Let it go. It's dead.

  7. Roger Cornelius 2015.02.14

    Don't let it go Cory.

    The stupidity and ignorance of these state GOP politicians requires that they be called out each and every time they do something stupid and lie, Senator Monroe lied.

  8. Jana 2015.02.14

    So Monroe lies or is concealing a school district that is breaking the law by not filing with the AG.

    Greenfield is either lying or concealing legislators carrying deadly force, against the law, the law in the state capital...the people's house.

    Who in the hell are these people and why is this being tolerated by the people who were elected to represent the people and not the party?

  9. 96Tears 2015.02.14

    Did Monroe lie, or did he just forget the truth?

    Did Greenfield lie about carrying around guns in the Capitol, or did he make a statement to generate a discussion point to protect our God-given obligation to carry and use guns in any building in America?

    These people don't lie all the time. They are patriots!

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.14

    (96: Five degrees?! It just cracked zero here. Darn sunbelt braggers... :-P )

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.14

    MC, SB 162 is dead, but the discussion exposed all sorts of failings in our Republican legislators' knowledge, respect for rule of law, and respect for law enforcement.

  12. grudznick 2015.02.14

    Mr. H, didn't the Republican lead committee kill this 1.6.2?

  13. David Newquist 2015.02.14

    The false citation of law and the total incompetence involved in the drafting of this bill point up a huge and absurd irony. These legislators are the ones who dreamed up and supported HB1234 to teachers on performance. As a former president of a professors' association, I served on review committees for dismissals of teachers and professors for just cause involving gross incompetence and negligence. Some of the cases involved the very kind of statements of errors of fact made by Greenfield and Monroe. And these examples of defective intelligence want to secretly swagger around the statehouse with firearms. Apparently enough of their colleagues think better of it.

  14. Donald Pay 2015.02.14

    Animal House? I love that Dean Wormer act that Tieszen and Heinert pull on the two Delta House scholars, Greenfield and Monroe.

    "Zero point zero." But, of course, Delta House had a number of likable buffoons with no power over people. Alcohol, guns and a bunch of low IQ narcissists with egos don't go together, which is why you need to keep guns out of the Legislature.

  15. grudznick 2015.02.14

    Isn't Dean Wormer one of the legislatures from east river?

  16. Joan Brown 2015.02.14

    It doesn't matter what part of the state a person is from. There is getting to be more and more gun carrying idiots around the state and more and more shootings.

  17. mike from iowa 2015.02.14

    Wingnuts were the ones pushing guns on everyone and now they are fearing for their lives from the monsters they helped create. Can you say irony,because I can.

  18. bearcreekbat 2015.02.14

    mfi - of course they fear people with guns, after all our stand your ground law apparently allows anyone to shoot and kill any other person that they think is a threat. Legislators need to be able to kill anyone they deem a threat, right?

    Just imagine a bunch of open carry advocates walking around outside the capital with their AK 47's and AR 15's. How scary this would be! Why shouldn't an elected official be allow to kill these folks from the safety of inside the capital through open windows with their concealed firearms?

  19. Craig Tieszen 2015.02.14

    You have misrepresented the hearing by confusing Senator Craig Tieszen and lobbyist Dick Tieszen.

  20. mike from iowa 2015.02.15

    bcb-I've never seen the statehouse. Is it multiple stories? That would be a tactical advantage-having the high ground to shoot from. Charles Whitman demonstrated that with monotonous redundancy. Good gawd,legislators will be declaring themselves top snipers next and want the state or feds to purchase .50 cal Barret M107s for all hands.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.15

    Senator Tieszen, forgive me, but I don't think I catch your meaning. In my transcription of the hearing, I identify comments made by Senator Craig Tieszen, chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee. I do not cite lobbyist Dick Tieszen. Did Dick Tieszen participate in or make any comment at the hearing?

  22. Alan Fenner 2015.02.15

    Quote from 96Tears: "Are their districts completely out of smarter people to send to Pierre?"

    According to the legislature if we raise their salary to $10,000 we will attract higher quality legislators.

  23. Craig Tieszen 2015.02.15

    Cory: Dick Tieszen was in the room and is responsible for the 'three fingers' reference. I never commented on the sentinel bill. I appreciate your interest in and attention to these hearings and, while I often don't agree with your conclusions, I just ask to be quoted accurately. In this case the situation was confusing so I'll give you a pass!
    And, yes, I do believe that a pay increase would help attract more qualified candidates to the legislature.

  24. Tim 2015.02.15

    Sen Tieszen, I'm in your district, one question. I have no objection to paying legislators more for their time and agree that a pay raise may give more the chance to serve, as Cory posts on another thread here, why doesn't this same mentality apply to teacher pay? Looking forward to the upcoming crackerbarrel, hope to see you there. Thanks

  25. grudznick 2015.02.15

    French transcription.

  26. Francis Schaffer 2015.02.15

    Senator Craig Tieszen, please help me understand the qualifications of candidates for the South Dakota Legislature, in your opinion. Also, who; in your opinion is under qualified? Has there been any thought to moving the calendar of the session to attract more candidates? I suppose the South Dakota Constitution sets the calendar?!?!

  27. 96Tears 2015.02.15

    A fool will feel much more welcomed to hog a Senate or House seat if his/her pay were raised to $10,000. Money isn't why people chose to run. And higher pay isn't what determines if smarter people win, especially in a Republican primary. The mouth breathers in the GOP caucus exist because they do the bidding of senseless, useless agendas of people who purchase their elections.

    For this reason, above all others, the supporters of higher pay for fools taking up space in the House and Senate must also support higher, competitive pay for people who educate our children. If you want better results in who gets the job of educating our children, why do you offer them the lowest national incentive to take those jobs, Sen. Tieszen?

  28. grudznick 2015.02.15

    Our legislatures should represent a nice cross-section of South Dakota. Not Minnesota or Iowa, but South Dakota. There are probably too many rich lawyer and farmers who have time on their hands in the winter there today. Plus, there's Messrs. Monroe and Greenfield.

  29. Tim 2015.02.15

    grudz, the legislature should represent a cross section of the population, but with single party rule like we have all we get is ALEC and NRA sponsored legislation and Koch paid for campaigns. Funny thing is, I hold the SDDP and uninformed voters responsible for this.

  30. grudznick 2015.02.15

    I, also, Mr. Tim, blame the libbies for much. But blaming them for their ineptitude seems harsh. I believe that some day the Libertarians or maybe the Organized Independents will rise up and replace the Democrat party in South Dakota

  31. Tim 2015.02.15

    I guess Sen Tieszen was only interested in making sure he was quoted correctly, doesn't really give a shit what one of his democrat constituents thinks. Not surprised I guess.

  32. Tim 2015.02.15

    Grudz, it is harsh, but also true. Until the SDDP figures it out and starts taking the steps to turn it around, and voters actually start paying attention to what they are doing, then it is what it is.

  33. 96Tears 2015.02.15

    Ironic that the moronic, clueless discussions in the Legislature supporting gunslinger bills coincided with the tragic, senseless events this past week in Lennox.

    Recommended reading from Taking a Left Turn in South Dakota:

  34. mike from iowa 2015.02.15

    Raise the pay to a million bucks a day and you'll the smartest candidates.

  35. mike from iowa 2015.02.15

    Really,if you paid this bunch of pols what they were worth,they'd be paying the state money. The folks that live in South Dakota are your constitutents-not Chuck and Dave koch bros or the NRA.

  36. Jason 2015.02.15

    The "guns er'rywhere" mentality of the SD legislature is beyond comprehension. It seems to be steeped in some kind of mythological misrepresentation of late 19th century western history. Maybe prospective legislators should be required to pass a US history test before becoming eligible to serve the people they claim to represent.

  37. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.15

    Senator Tieszen, thank you for that clarification. The audio did not make that clear... and I would not think that an audience member would speak up in the middle of a hearing. I apologize for the mishearing and will amend the above text.

  38. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.02.15

    @Owen, Et Al, I hate to beat the proverbial dead horse; but, how do you ever expect to elect Democratic candidates in mainstream SD by insulting and alienating the voting base?

    The juvenile comments about Republicans, TEA Party members, etc., only enforce the growing poor perception of the Left that many share due to President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, etc.

    You are railing about guns to a state that has a massive population of both Republicans and Democrats who cherish their 2nd Amendment Rights. You play into the portrayal of all Democrats are being Obama gun control minions with your comments. It's one of the third rails of politics in SD that you keep throwing your candidates onto.

  39. Tim 2015.02.15

    DD, I asked MY state senator a fair question, in a well mannered way and got ignored. What the hell do they expect? If they want to be treated with respect, they should try treating us the same for a change.

  40. mike from iowa 2015.02.15

    DD likes to flog that dead horse. it appears to be the only one he knows. Wingnuts are NRA dupes and they are stoopid and their voters are stoopid for believing a word these people get paid to say.

  41. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.02.15

    @Tim I am with you, they are supposed to answer to us. Unacceptable for them to ignore you.

    @MFI Explain to me how it benefits your Democratic candidates to alienate Democrats and Republicans with such inflammatory rhetoric..

  42. Owen 2015.02.15

    what was insulting DD. This guy on KSFY talks about proper training and use of a firearm and the gun fanatics aren't even for this. This guy didn't mean what he said.
    There is nothing wrong with common sense gun control

  43. Owen 2015.02.15

    Sorry but DD but your right to own a gun doesn't trump my right to live. Requiring a permit to keep a concealed weapon and not allowing guns on college campuses is common sense-not liberal or conservative

  44. Roger Cornelius 2015.02.15

    South Dakota Republican legislators have absolutely earned the right to be called out and chastised for their ineptitude and ignorance, if they are called harsh names they have earned it.
    Democrats don't necessarily have to find common ground with Republican extremism on gun legislation, same-sex marriage, abortion or President Obama.
    The biggest mistake Democrats made this last election cycle was not running on President Obama's record on economic recovery. The President's achievements are remarkable, remarkable enough that Boehner and McConnell have attempted to claim credit for the President's work.
    South Dakota Democrats have also failed to educated the low-information minions that follow the Republicans, not understanding that Republicans don't represent their best interests, only their perverse ideology.
    As an example, I love repeating this, Republicans in this state are responsible for every single fee and tax increase for the past forty years. Kind of puts the old saying "tax and spend liberals" in the deep freeze.
    This Republican legislature has even attempted or accomplished, I'm not sure, to disguise the difference between tax and fees to cover their recklessness on increasing taxes on those low-information Republican voters.

  45. mike from iowa 2015.02.15

    Makes them examine their actions and search their souls to see if they have the power of their convictions. It will make Dems grow a spine and a pair of balls so they can stand for and defend the principles Dems have long believed in. If you mollycoddled children like this they'd grow up to be spoiled rotten,demand everything under the sun for themselves as their birthright,petulant little snobs the whole world would want to drown.

    There is a whole list of lies out there perpetrated by your party about the least among us that have to be refuted and sourced back to your party of so called christians. Someday,people will finally figure out who the bad guys really are in America and it starts at the very top.

  46. mike from iowa 2015.02.15

    Another point,Owen, wingnuts voted down two liberal proposals to force Trans-Canada to use American made steel and sell all refined tar sands products in America. Why? Because it was abundantly clear from the beginning,that this crud was going overseas and cheaper metal was going to be used in pipes to save money for T-C. This stuff is not petroleum(another lie),there are very few jobs with this project and it will not protect us from foreign oil imports,since it comes from Canada and is going overseas. Wingnuts lie through their teeth and their mindless dummy zombies vote for them.

  47. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.02.15

    @Owen There is only one organization that does anything about teaching the general public about "proper training and use of a firearm" and that is the NRA. For the most part, you have no clue who does or does not have a concealed weapon. If you were truly concerned about control of a gun, you would be for people carrying a gun concealed vice open as the concealment promotes the ability of the gun owner in retaining it. What part of the various gun control areas in the USA do you feel best represent your idea of common sense gun control?

    @Roger Cornelius. Sorry! Rep Jim Bolin and the other tax and spend "Republicans" passed a resolution saying taking the taxpayer's money by increased fees is not the same as taking their money from increased taxes (it is, but it makes them feel good about not really being limited government Republicans.

  48. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.02.15

    @MFI You may want to do some research before bantering "wing nut" around in derision. Your use is as wrong as conservatives calling the political opportunist moderate "Republicans" as "Liberals."

  49. mike from iowa 2015.02.15

    My use is personal. I don't need focus groups to tell me what to think or say. I don't pay anyone to write stuff for me. I see what goes on everyday in the country,my state,your state,etc. and I call a spade a spade.

  50. Craig Tieszen 2015.02.15

    These comments remind me why I don't sit in front of my computer blogging all day. By the way, I DO believe the same logic that applies to legislator pay applies to teacher pay and have been working to bring about change.

  51. mike from iowa 2015.02.15

    BTW-DD,Orange (as in SOH John Boner) is the new Treason.Remember you heard it first right here.

  52. Tim 2015.02.15

    Sen Tieszen, thanks for a response. Next time you see our Governor, please pass along to him that a lot of people in the state think it is a problem that has been studied to death and a time for decision is here. Thanks again

  53. Roger Cornelius 2015.02.15

    Senator Tieszen,
    Can you tell us what specifically you are doing to help raise teacher pay?
    It seems that legislators and school districts are making this a more complicated issue than it needs to be.

  54. grudznick 2015.02.15

    Let us hope the good senator from Rapid City retains his common sense in the "tax all of us for just you" fiasco that many fat cat administrators believe in and that gets good teachers kicked in the teeth.

    Don't tax me for just them, Mr. Tieszen. The senator Mr. Tieszen. Not the taxing other one. Tax tax tax. BAH.

  55. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.02.15

    Don't raise any taxes, Senator Tiezen.. just fees. Because it's different when the government takes money from the tax payers by calling one "fees" and the other form "taxes." Kind of like calling one fine a "fine" and the other a "civil fine."

    FYI, a huge chunk of $$$ would be redirected towards education if all "fines" were not redirected to government agencies by claiming they were some how different when they are identified as "civil fines." Curious how much that would be? Maybe over the long run it would have saved education funding From being so ravaged? Doubtful, I'm sure all the "limited government" moderate "Republicans" would have diverted even more to the UnRepublican "economic development" cronyism.

  56. Francis Schaffer 2015.02.16

    Senator Craig Tieszen, I asked my questions in all sincerity and I would like you to address the issues of legislator qualifications and if any thought has been put into amending the Constitution to change the session calendar? Also, since you claim to want to apply the same logic to teachers' salaries; the legislature works 40 days, teachers 180 days; so by use of a ratio to compare both salaries, teachers should have a starting salary of $45,000 plus benefits of course. Is that the logic you are suggesting?

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