Iowa Students Protest Shooting by Walking Out of Class

( – The first school shooting of 2024 happened at Perry High School in Perry, Iowa. One student died after being shot multiple times, and five people suffered injuries. Students recently walked out of class to protest gun violence and the failures of lawmakers to deal with the issue.

The shooting at Perry High took place on January 4, the first day back to school for students after their winter break. Hours after Dylan Butler, 17, opened fire on the school, March for Our Lives Iowa began organizing a statewide walkout. The group is a branch of the organization founded by the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead in 2018.

On January 8, students across the state, including some at Perry High, walked out of their schools. Approximately 300 students marched to the Iowa Capitol Building and held a rally. They packed into the rotunda, where Democratic lawmakers told personal stories about gun violence and thanked the students for their activism.

Dozens of students from Des Moines East High School were among those who marched to the Capitol. They participated in the protest because they, too, were hit by a similar tragedy. In March 2022, one student was killed and two others suffered serious injuries in a drive-by shooting. Ten teens were charged with the shooting.

Marha Smith, a junior at East High, told KCCI that they felt it was “very important” that they get involved.

The protesters demanded lawmakers take steps to pass sensible gun safety laws. They said schools are no longer safe, and they want that to change. Ollie Barnes, another East High student, said that Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has “blood […] on her hands.” Others claimed the governor wasn’t protecting kids. They said the latest shooting might have been prevented had lawmakers taken action before.

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