Panel backs bill requiring law enforcement to inform schools of students’ suspected criminal activity

A person climbs the stairs of the South Dakota Capitol.
A person climbs the stairs of the South Dakota Capitol.(Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 3:58 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (South Dakota Searchlight) - A Senate panel endorsed a bill that would require law enforcement to inform school officials when a student is suspected of violating the law.

Current law says officers “may” report their suspicions to school officials. Opponents and several members of the juvenile justice summer study committee said most school districts already communicate well with law enforcement.

Opponents included lobbyists for South Dakota sheriffs, police chiefs and state’s attorneys.

Sen. Erin Tobin (R-Winner) is the sponsor of Senate Bill 3 and argued that the compulsory language is needed for when a student is suspected of violating state drug or alcohol laws or of threatening violence.

“There is a problem. Anytime you’ve missed that line of communication and a child or a teacher are put in a safety situation, there’s a problem,” Tobin said.

The bill passed 4-2. It now moves to the Senate floor.

This article was produced by South Dakota Searchlight, which provides free news and commentary on critical issues facing the state at SouthDakotaSearchlight.Com.