Making a Change

Students at Kennedy walked out of their fourth hour classes on April 20, attempting to grab the attention of Iowan representatives, and join the national movement promoting gun control.

Many student speakers attended the walkout, sharing their desire for more restrictive gun laws, and emotionally impacting the crowd of students.

“After everything that has been going on with gun violence, the speakers seemed to really inspire students and motivate them to help,” Abbie Green, fr., said.

After the speakers finished, organizers encouraged students to call Iowan representatives and voice to them their requests regarding gun control.

“Joni Ernst usually takes peoples’ thoughts into consideration when she followed up with email responses. Chuck Grassley gives a summary of your request, and a record of his voting history related to the issue, and Rod Blum typically doesn’t even respond,” Hannah Fusselman, sr., said.

A petition was available at the walkout for students to sign, which listed the student’s requests. Some of the demands included banning assault rifles, universal background checks, allowing courts to disarm people who show signs of violent behavior, and requiring a gun license for all gun purchases.

“It’s students that are mainly in danger, so we should be the ones who are speaking up for what we believe in. I think the petition really shows that it’s our voices that are leading this movement,” said Green.

There were also tee-shirt order forms and voting registration forms for students who were going to be 18 in the upcoming election.

The Cedar Rapids Community School District sent out an email the morning of the walkout, stating their stance on the walkout.

“We will honor our students’ first amendment rights to peacefully assemble and we will also maintain order in the classroom with minimal disruption to classroom instruction,” signed the district.

Impacts of the walkout were seen throughout the student body, as students became more informed about gun control.

“The walkout brought awareness got more students talking about it. I think everyone there learned a lot more about the issue at hand,” said Green.

Anafer Millsap