Metro Students Trade Pencils for Microphones During National School Walkout

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  On the anniversary of the Columbine school shooting, Iowa students walked out of class to protest gun violence.

“There’s people killed every single day by guns in America, and that’s just a problem that needs to be resolved now,” said Roosevelt High School senior Sophia Rodriguez.

Roosevelt High School and Merrill Middle School students wanted to walk out of class to show their support and join students across the country for the National School Walkout.

“So we want to do this because we want to end gun violence in schools and just in general. It’s not just about in schools. It’s about all over the country. Guns are a huge problem in America, and we need to do something about it,” Rodriguez said.

Another walkout leader said she wants to be an advocate for the younger generation.

“I have two younger siblings, one of them being four and the other 13, and I don’t want them come into schools where they feel unsafe every day. While I’m still in school, I want to be that change and I want to make sure they feel safe in their schools and that I am doing everything I can,” Roosevelt High School junior Alice Medick said.

Following smaller rallies at schools around the metro, students came together at the Iowa State Capitol to call on lawmakers to take action.

“Young people are constantly silenced because of our age and because we don’t have the right to vote yet. But we will soon, and so I really think it does matter that we have a voice. We are living just like people who can vote do. We are affected by the laws that are implemented and we should be able to speak about it,” said Roosevelt High School junior Isabella O’Connor.

During the rally at the Capitol, students expressed what they want to see changed through poems, speeches, and songs.

“We just want more common sense gun laws. We want a ban on bump stocks and high capacity magazines and assault rifles and permits, permit to carry, permit to purchase," said Hoover High School senior Ava Torres. "We want to have more mental health awareness and resources for the students and community members that need those resources."

Torres said at the end of the day, they want to be heard and understood.

“We are making our stand and we are showing everybody that we are in this together and that change will come, even if it’s not today or tomorrow, but it will come,” Medick said.