Minneapolis students march for school safety, gun control

Dozens of Minneapolis students walked out of school on Wednesday to protest gun violence, after the recent mass shooting at a Florida high school.
Dozens of Minneapolis students walked out of school on Wednesday to protest gun violence, after the recent mass shooting at a Florida high school.

Several hundred students marched from Southwest Minneapolis to City Hall on Wednesday to protest gun violence in schools, a week after a gunman killed 17 people at a high school in Florida.

Scores of students met around 12:30 p.m. at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in the Kingfield neighborhood and walked approximately 3 1/2 miles to City Hall. They joined up with other students outside City Hall around 2:15 p.m.

The march and rally came a week after a former student killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Students from the school lobbied for stricter gun laws Wednesday at the Florida statehouse, while students across the country walked out of class to protest gun violence.

“Students shouldn’t have to go to school feeling unsafe or feeling that there could be a school shooting,” Washburn High School ninth-grader Sonia Svedahl said.

A student holds a sign in a march to City Hall to protest gun violence in schools.
Students held signs and chanted slogans supporting gun control as they marched to City Hall.

Added ninth-grader Julianna Harritt: “People shouldn’t have to be afraid to go to school. It should be a safe space, and they shouldn’t have to fear for their lives.”

Students chanted phrases such as “What do we want? Gun control! When do we want it? Now!” as they walked up Nicollet and First avenues, escorted by Minneapolis police officers. They cheered when onlookers came out onto balconies or onto driveways to wave.

Rhea Strom, a senior at Southwest High School, said the group behind the march, called students4revolution, had started the day before.

“We were tired of just sitting and waiting for something to happen but not actually going out and doing something,” she said.

Mayor Jacob Frey addressed the students outside of City Hall, telling them: “we have your back.”

“This is a nationwide movement, and it’s young people, it is students that are leading the way,” he said. “The (National Rifle Association) is going to be shaking in their boots, cause you all are the gun lobby’s absolute worst nightmare.”

Jacob Frey addresses the student marchers.
Mayor Jacob Frey addressed the student marchers.

Minneapolis Public Schools released a statement on Wednesday afternoon that said in part that “it’s time for our country to have a real conversation about how to move forward to protect our students and teachers.”

The district’s statement encouraged families to have conversations with their students about their expectations and participation in non-school sponsored activities, including walkouts. But it said the best way for the district to ensure student safety is to know students’ whereabouts, which isn’t possible once they leave school grounds.

“The Superintendent’s senior leadership team will be meeting this week to discuss further considerations for national walkouts planned in March and April. We will share more information as these conversations continue,” the statement said.

Students outside of City Hall.
Students outside of City Hall.
  • Joan Hargrave

    MN Attorney General Lori Swanson gets an A+ rating from the NRA. That’s unacceptable- she should be voted out this year.
    I first heard about DFLer Lori Swanson’s NRA endorsement in 2014 from former DFL Rep Andy Dawkins at a fundraiser (he ran as a Green for MN Attorney General). You can cross check Lori Swanson’s NRA rating reported by MPR in the reference below by going to the NRA website.

    ‘NRA BACKS LORI SWANSON FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL’ by Tom Scheck “Lori Swanson’s commitment to preserving our Second Amendment freedoms has earned her the NRA-PVF endorsement,” said Chris W. Cox, chairman of NRA-PVF. “Gun owners and hunters in Minnesota can trust Lori Swanson to fight for their Second Amendment rights. Lori Swanson returned positive responses to the NRA-PVF candidate questionnaire and has been a strong and vocal supporter of our right to keep and bear arms while serving as Minnesota Attorney General. She also signed the important amicus brief in the McDonald case, arguing that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right that applies to all Americans. “Lori Swanson’s support for individual gun ownership rights has earned her an ‘A+’ rating — the NRA-PVF’s highest — and endorsement from the NRA-PVF,” Cox continued. “We ask all Minnesota gun owners, hunters and NRA members to vote Lori Swanson for Attorney General on November 2.”

    The Bismark Tribune reported in 2015 that North Dakota’s Attorney General and MN reached a reciprocity concealed carry permit agreement, meaning concealed carry gun owners can bring their guns into MN and MN concealed carry gun owners can do the same in ND. Reciprocity agreements are a way to get around any state’s attempt at gun regulations. It’s important to know that most NRA $ comes from the weapons industry – against any gun control.

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