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The Student News Site of Liberty High School

The Live Wire

Liberty students organize walkout protesting gun violence

Following the tragedy of the Perry High School shooting, Liberty students protest gun violence by walking out of classes.
Liberty students walk out of fifth period classes in protest of school shootings.
Kaelyn Rickels
Liberty students walk out of fifth period classes in protest of school shootings.

Jan. 4, 2024. It was the first day back after winter break for the Perry Community School District. On that morning, a 17-year-old student opened fire at the combined middle and high school, killing sixth-grade student Ahmir Jolliff and wounding seven others, including a school administrator.
Only a short two-hour drive from North Liberty, Perry High School in Perry, Iowa is the most recent victim of mass shooting. Perry joins the ever-growing list of schools affected by the epidemic of gun violence plaguing America.
This recent tragedy has hit close to home for many students, inspiring action in many ways. For Liberty senior Megan Quinn, the Perry shooting furthered a desire for legislative action. “I am working my hardest to make sure that something is finally done in this state after the Perry shooting.”
Active in the fight against gun violence, Quinn is a legislative associate for March For Our Lives Iowa. “I help create our legislative agenda and focus on things that could be passed in the legislative session, such as common sense gun laws.”
She decided to organize a walkout to allow Liberty students to share their thoughts and express their sympathy for the victims of the shooting in Perry. “I organized the walkout because I believe that the way we are going to solve this problem in our country is through the next generation of voters. I believe that a lot of students are upset about the situation and need an outlet to create change,” said Quinn.
Quinn organized the walkout to be held on Thursday, Jan. 11, just seven days after the shooting in Perry. Approximately 20 students attended the walkout, which was held during fifth-period classes. Quinn opened the walkout with a statement on the recent shooting in Perry, “Gun violence needs to end. We’ve all seen the headlines and heard the stories, but we never thought that this would happen to us. But it can happen. It happened to a school in our state. Now, more than ever, we need to band together to end gun violence.”

Megan Quinn, 12, speaks to students at the walkout about ways to get involved in the fight against gun violence.
(Kaelyn Rickels)

Then, the floor was opened to other students who wished to speak on the issue. CJ Dunning, 12, shared his opinion on the matter. “I believe that part of this is the parents. They were not checking in on their child,” stated Dunning. “This is also the responsibility of this child. He should not have had that weapon in any proximity to his school building, whatsoever.”
Clover Babka, 12, also spoke at the walkout, encouraging students to take action. “I know that it’s hard to believe that you as an individual can do anything about this, with how widespread gun violence is… But you can make a difference. You can talk to your legislators, you can get your friends involved. There are things you can do… You can vote in legislators that care about this, that want to stop this. So don’t be discouraged. Even though we are all individuals we can come together and we can help solve this problem,” Babka said.
Following the student speakers, Quinn held a moment of silence in honor of Ahmir Jolliff, the sixth-grade student killed in the shooting at Perry High School.
Quinn concluded the walkout by sharing ways that students can get involved in the fight to end gun violence. “If we all flood their voices, they can’t ignore us. We need to demand change because enough is enough. People can tell us that we need to move on and forget about it, but we all know that we can’t have something like this happen again,” said Quinn, “above all else, I want you to look around at the people around you and know that you all do matter and you should fight to feel safe in school because we all deserve that.”

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About the Contributor
Kaelyn Rickels, Website Manager
Kaelyn is a junior and this is her second year on staff. At Liberty, she participates in softball, Garden Club, and NHS. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time outside, reading Stephen King, and watching nature documentaries.