DES MOINES, Iowa – Students across the country plan to participate in ‘National School Walkout’ Friday, and central Iowa students are taking it a step further.
Students plan to walkout of classrooms at 10:00 a.m. to honor people who lost their lives to gun violence.
Theodore Roosevelt High School student Anna Van Heukelom said a group of students in central Iowa wanted to do more.
“The activists from each school kind of found each other and made connections and decided that we wanted to host something at the capitol to all come together and show unity,” Van Heukelom said.
Waukee High School student Sam Spackman said the group formed over the messaging app called “GroupMe.”
Fifty-seven activists from 17 schools are in the group message.
Norwalk High School student Noah Percy said students are holding a rally at the state capitol from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and plan to talk about gun violence, promote mental health awareness, and register people to vote.
“What we are going to be doing is registering voters, educating people that come to the rally on what gun legislation is needed,” Percy said.
East High School student Alejandro Zarate said he looks at this rally as an educational lesson.
“I just want to make sure people are educated on both sides of the spectrum. I understand everyone has their opinions and stuff like that, but I do want social justice for everyone,” Zarate said.
Spackman said he saw what the high school students in Parkland, Florida were doing, and wanted to make a difference in Iowa.
“I don’t think our generation is the first to really advocate for it. I think our generation is the first to get a lot of media attention. It’s been an issue for so long, but I think that especially now that it is a national movement I feel great to be a part of this,” Speckman said.
There will be speakers, poets, and singers at the rally.
Van Heukelom said, “adults are trying to discredit teen activists, and I think that this is a big message to them that we can organize something on our own and it will be successful, and something will come out of it."
Percy said local political candidates Pete D’Alessandro, Eddie Mauro, Cindy Axne, Nate Boulton, Andie McGuire, Cathy Glasson and John Norris will be attending the rally.
The color orange will be worn to represent the gun control movement.
The ‘National School Walkout’ falls on the 19th anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School.