Des Moines Students Walk Out on Classes and Speak Against Racial Injustice

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Roosevelt High School Junior Tyerell Jones staged a protest and nearly one thousand came pouring out of the school's doors thirty minutes before school let out.  "Honestly it was heartwarming and it gave me chills," said Jones. The group of students spoke out against recent officer involved shootings across the country where unarmed black men like Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, had been killed. "It reiterates my whole meaning of unity is key and the fact that we can all come together with different races and ethnicities on this one issue to make change."

Despite leaving school early, administration officials were also hand in hand with protesting students. Roosevelt Principal Kevin Biggs said, "We believe in the student voice being heard here and I think in Des Moines in general.  They have a lot to tell us."

They held signs protesting racial injustice and supported the black lives matter movement.  Tyerell Jones and Nina Gregory, a senior student at Roosevelt read poems in front of the massive crowd.  Principal Biggs said,  "They believe in human rights. They believe in standing up when injustices occur and in their mind this was the best way to do it.  I'm proud of them for doing it."

While the majority are too young to vote for the change they believe in, they were not shy about speaking their minds.  Jones said, "Just because you can't vote for something doesn't mean you can't make change in the government."

Change that impacted more than just students. "Today, I think many adults and students learned from each other which is a victory in my book."

Students also took part in a "Die-in", where they laid on the ground silently in honor of victims of police brutality.  Roosevelt teacher Michael Shaw and his, America in the 60's, class handed out bracelets that read "Unity in Diversity."