Area Students Participate in Gun Violence Walkout

For a second time in as many months, Forest City students took to the parking lot in the front of the school to let their actions be heard. Both middle school and high school students stepped out of the building for 13 minutes in remembrance of the 19th anniversary of the Colombine shooting in Colorado. The 13 minutes signified the thirteen students who were killed and 24 who were injured by the two gunmen at Columbine High School on April 20th, 1999, before today’s high school seniors were born.

The first time Forest City students and others walked out of classes was in remembrance of the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Florida. In both cases, students wanted people to know that the violence has to end and that those who are in leadership positions should do something about it. They were not alone. Students in some Iowa schools walked out of classes Friday morning to join the national protest.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says there is “no one single answer” to school safety.

Reynolds, a Republican, says the Republican-led legislature has already passed a bill that requires all Iowa school districts to have a safety plan and conduct yearly active shooter drills. As for new gun regulations, Reynolds is opposed. She says the priority should be enforcing the laws already on the books and updating the existing federal background check system. Senate President Charles Schneider, a Republican from West Des Moines, says the Iowa legislature is setting aside 35 million dollars in grant money to help schools pay for safety upgrades to buildings, like lock down systems or stronger classroom doors. But Schneider, like the governor, suggests new gun regulations are not on this year’s agenda.

Senator Janet Petersen of Des Moines, the Democratic leader in the senate, attended a local school walk-out as well as a student-led rally in the statehouse Friday morning.