Student walkout to call attention to national gun violence

Around 40 students walked out of 5th hour classes on April 6 after power hour to protest gun violence and try to gain attention for gun control. Students walked around the parking area directly in front of the school and stopped at the track when speakers presented from the bleachers.  

One of the speakers, junior Adriana Bredin, said, “I think the thing that pushed me is nobody else has been addressing it for so long even though it’s been casually happening over the past three years and escalating. I really haven’t seen anyone in our school take action about it, so I decided to speak on it because I wanted it to be a lot more known, especially within Iowa itself because I feel like we all think Iowa is pretty much untouchable right now even though it has proven not to be just in these last six months with everything that has been happening, so just spreading awareness especially here.” 

Breddin said she has cared about this issue for a long time and is tired of the people who have more power than her not speaking out and making change happen. She cites the fact that there have been over 163 mass shootings this year so far (numbering more shootings than days in the year) as evidence of normalization and severity. 

Sophomore Rebekah Chagdes said she is frustrated that this is all she can do. The walkout felt empowering but she said she knows that her powers are limited as a student and a minor. She said, “I was on the fence. In the end, doing the walkout isn’t going to change anything. There will be some attention from local media and the 40 students there will feel empowered, but in the end, walking out to show our school this needs to change isn’t going to end gun violence in schools. I walked out because it is something I am passionate about. I stood in front of those students with nothing planned. I just let my heart speak. I have two sisters in college, and every time I see them, I know it could be the last. Schools aren’t safe like they’re supposed to be.”

Breddin said, “The main message we want to spread is ‘be safe and make good decisions and most of all be kind to others.’ School is one of the reasons you grow mass shooters because school plays a significant role in kid’s mental health and how it leads up to these specific events. The recurring trend is the quiet kid who gets bullied, and even though it’s that recurring trend, nobody is stopping it. Be kind, spread awareness about this topic and also stop bullying.”

Not only are these students pushing their message, but they also want to lead an example for others. Chagdes encouraged students to take charge and get involved with their beliefs. “Stand up for what you believe in. It’s not always going to be easy. It might be uncomfortable, and sometimes you might have consequences. Anyone can make an impact on the world. It’s just about how hard you’re willing to push.”

Though many of these students do not have the right to vote, they said they hope to do all they can to make a change in an issue that affects them directly.

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