MASON CITY, Iowa- Hundreds of Mason City Schools students walked out of class on Friday and in to the school gymnasium as a way to stand in solidarity with schools across the nation on the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.
Students then had the opportunity to question prominent figures in the community: lawmakers, Mason City Police Chief, Mason City School Superintendent and the Mayor, about debate over gun control, mental health, school safety and many others.
Just this year alone, we have already had five school threats in our area: Mason City Schools, Riceville Schools, Austin Schools, Century High School and Triten Schools.
And those holding the event say it is events like those threats that are making them want to stand up to be sure their voices are being heard.
Daniel Stephenson, a sophomore, was one of the event coordinators. He said they originally were just going to hold a walkout, but after getting in touch with school staff, they came up with the idea to hold the panel as well.
When asked if the students feel safe while at school many raised their hand.
“I think a lot of us do feel safe,” said Stephenson. “That is something I talked about in my speech. We are very lucky for that, but not everyone does have a safe school and that is sad, which is why everyone needs to recognize that and talk about it.”