URBANDALE, Iowa — At 11:00 a.m. Wednesday students at Urbandale High School walked out the front door, and across the road to Lions Park. The walkout was to protest a series of bills at the Iowa Statehouse designed to curtail LGBTQ presence in Iowa schools.
For the students, the changing laws are a cause for concern over safety.
“Essentially, gone is your room for students to maintain their privacy to actually keep their identities to themselves for as long as they need to to feel safe,” said Urbandale Senior Joseph Sibley. “If they’re forcibly outed to their parents or to teachers, then they can be very dangerous consequences.”
The students began planning some type of action when they learned of a statewide day of student walkouts.
“Everyone should have the ability to feel safe in school and they should have the right to self-expression,” said Sig Smith, a senior at Urbandale HS. “Conservatives and a lot of other people believe in strong, traditional values and strong American ideals in the idea of, basic human rights, and having the ability to express yourself and have self and bodily autonomy is an American ideal.”
The event was not sanctioned by the Urbandale School District, however, students were told they would not be penalized if they behaved, and came back to the school building as soon as the event concluded.
“Our school in particular decided that we couldn’t just stand around and do nothing,” said Sibley. “There is a legitimate risk of death and pain for a lot of people.”