On Thursday, May 26, following the school shooting in Uvalde Texas, IACS students walked out to recognize gun violence across the country.
At noon, over one hundred IACS students gathered outside on the High School Patio to commemorate the 21 lives lost in the recent school shooting, and advocate for stricter nationwide gun control laws. The walkout consisted of a moment of silence for those who were killed, followed by a few brief words about gun reform and steps that proponents of gun control argue should be taken. Sophomore Rylie Hegarty, one of the organizers of the event, stressed the importance of students speaking up and pushing for change. “Try to advocate,” said Hegarty. “We’re the youngest generation, people older than us aren’t going to want to do anything. But we do have the power to make it better.” In this spirit of advocacy, event organizers also encouraged students who felt strongly about this issue to write letters to Texas Governor Greg Abbot, one major opponent of gun reform.
In addition to the walkout, current junior and Student Government Co-President Drew Picard has encouraged students in a recent email to sign a petition encouraging IACS to install Nightlock door stoppers in classrooms. These door stoppers would be located at the base of the door, and upon being locked would anchor the door to the floor and prevent it from being opened. Proponents argue that these door stoppers could help to keep students safe by ensuring that a harmful intruder would not be able to enter the classroom. In the petition, Picard argues “These locks need to be installed in all of the classroom doors to keep our students as well as staff safe, so Innovation Academy Charter School isn’t recognized across the globe for not being able to protect its students.” So far, 195 people have signed the petition.
IACS students are not alone in protesting gun violence. Other schools across the United States also staged walkouts on the 26th, where student advocates demanded action from elected officials. As the national conversation about gun reform progresses, students continue to play a role in advocating for their interests and beliefs.