MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Hundreds of Minneapolis high school students walked out of class Wednesday to protest gun violence and make their voices heard to city officials, who quickly moved to support a statewide assault weapons ban in Minnesota.

The walkout began around noon, a week after 17 people were killed in a Florida high school shooting by a former student armed with an AR-15 rifle.

The demonstration in Minneapolis involved students from several high schools, including Washburn, Roosevelt, Southwest, South, and DeLaSalle.

The students gathered in south Minneapolis and walked up to six miles in 15-degree weather to Minneapolis City Hall.

Along the way, they were joined by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who chanted alongside the students and promised that the city council would help them in their push for gun law changes.

“What we all want to tell you is that we have your back,” Frey said.

Many of the demonstrating students, such as Washburn junior Katrina Hanson, said they feared shootings in their schools.

“I’m marching because there’s students like me, my age and younger, dying from gun violence,” she said.

While they understood that city lawmakers don’t have the power to ban weapons or enact gun control laws, the students felt it was important to make their voices heard.

“This is not about who our president is, it’s not about whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat, this is about children dying,” one student said before the city council.

After listening to students, the city council quickly moved to pass a motion in support of a statewide ban on assault weapons, bump stocks, silencers and extended magazines.

The vote makes Minneapolis the first city in the state to publicly support a statewide ban on assault weapons.

The student walkout demonstration in Minneapolis was one of several across the country. In Florida, the survivors of last week’s massacre pushed their state lawmakers for stricter gun laws. Some were part of a round table discussion on gun safety with President Donald Trump.

A Minneapolis Public Schools spokesperson released this statement on Wednesday’s walkout:

Last week’s school shooting in Florida made an impact on people throughout our country. While we have policies in place to keep our students as safe as possible, many people are wondering what else can be done. Across the nation, students have been especially active in speaking out on this issue, and they have organized a number of activities in response to the shooting.

What’s become clear is these tragedies occur too often, and something has to change. There are no easy answers, but it’s time for our country to have a real conversation about how to move forward to protect our students and teachers. It’s been profound to see that conversation being led by students.

We encourage our families to have conversations with their students about their expectations and participation in non-school sponsored activities, including walkouts. MPS respects students’ First Amendment right to peacefully assemble, and we will not discipline students for the act of protesting as long as the protest remains peaceful. However, the best way for us to ensure student safety during the school day is to know where our students are—that’s simply not possible once they leave school grounds. At this time, our normal policies regarding student attendance and walkouts still apply.

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.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

Comments (10)
  1. Then expel these students. This is all pushed by liberal teachers, the union goons Education Minnesota, Soros funded, Bloomberg funded. These kids, again, have no idea and cannot articulate or debate the topic because they don’t know anything about the shooting. The school knew about the psycho kid. The FBI literally did nothing when told. The media is only putting coached anti gun kids on the air, while hundreds of pro gun students are shunned by the media.

  2. Kevin Ol says:

    How about instead of useless feel good actions like passing more laws that don’t address the actual problem, let’s focus on the root causes, the first one is the mental health aspect, the dismantling of the nation wide mental health system beginning back in the 70’s, second is the failure of people to take responsibility for themselves instead of expecting government to always be there when you get a boo boo. The failures in the Florida shooting are glaring, starting with the failure of the FBI to do thorough follow up on not one but two credible tips regarding the shooter, the next failure was of the school administration to report concerns to local law enforcement, even though they sent out e-mails to staff with instructions not to let the shooter on campus with a backpack because of weapons found on him, the last failure was of his classmates not reporting to the school staff about their concerns and getting them to act on them. This is situational awareness, pull your faces out of your phone and pay attention to what is going on around you, if you see something that doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t, so you have a duty to say something to authorities to investigate.

  3. Public Schools take money from the federal government for lunch programs, books and to improve security, and then they spend the money on a superintendents million dollar severance package instead. They don’t even spend the money on what the money is intended for.

  4. Hans Zink says:

    Very good and true comments. These students now-a-day are so stupid, they can’t afford to miss a day.

  5. I think we should all go home and play our Call Of Duty, Grand Thief Auto or what other shootem up video games we have and see if we can’t figure out where these people are getting the idea of doing mass shootings.

  6. They were directed by the ROTTEN TEACHERS UNION to promote their LEFTIST communist NARRATIVE . “THAT’S WHY WE NEED TO “invest” more in (indoctrination) education”. If you can read this ,Thank a tax payer.

  7. why don’t they organize against murderers…not the NRA that lobbies for us ALL to be able to protect ourselves against psychos who shoot up schools. The police CANT HELP YOU…REMEMBER WHEN SECONDS COUNT – THE POLICE ARE ONLY MINUTES AWAY. The MEDIA continue to parade this propaganda when they know the mass of legislation we already have will NEVER STOP KILLERS!! KILLING IS ILLEGAL! Guns don’t kill people, they are inanimate – PSYCHOS kill people.
    WE NEED TO HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECT OURSELVES!! Just ask the helpless Jewish families in Germany who were disarmed and then hauled off to execution to be gassed. The MASS media also calls AR’s assault rifles – it stands for AMORLITE RIFLE – not ASSAULT RIFLE. the color and shape of the stock don’t make it any worse or better than any other gun. It is a modular semi-automatic rifle. Nuts don’t care about human life and if guns were illegal they would resort to using a car, a knife, whatever – you name it.This lack of education and misdirected by intention.