News Buzz: Students Protest

Feb 23, 2018

The mass shooting earlier this month at a Florida high school has inspired a youth-led protest movement across the country, including in Iowa, with students demanding changes to gun control legislation.

On this River to River, Ben Kieffer is joined by Ryan Westhoff, a sophomore at Cedar Falls High School. Westhoff participated in a protest outside Congressman Rod Blum’s office in Cedar Falls on Friday.

“There’s been a lot of inaction on the congressional level,” Westhoff says. “After you have a tragedy like this, there’s some buzz about gun control but it rarely ever comes through. Just like after the Las Vegas shooting, there was buzz about banning bump stocks but it never came to fruition after that.” 

According to Westhoff, students at Cedar Falls High School disagree about what should change.

“For example, a majority of us agree there should be some form of gun control. But there's a group of students that would say the problem would be school safety and locking schools better, things like that.”

Despite active shooter drills, in which students practice lock down, evacuation, and the principles of “run, hide, fight,” security problems at Stoneman Douglas High School point at weaknesses in that school's readiness.

“They saw what happened at Stoneman Douglas High School, they had a plan but when it happened, it all kind of fell apart in the heat of the moment,” Westhoff says.

“It makes students feel like there's a plan but it could also cause a false sense of security.”

Also on this news buzz edition of River to River, AP reporter Ryan Foley talks about possible ethics violations from Congressman Rod Blum, IPR statehouse correspondent Joyce Russell covers the week in legislative news, Librarian Samantha Helmick talks about intellectual freedom and library book challenges, John Benson Communications Bureau Chief for Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management explains the "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign, and we groove into the weekend with IPR Studio One host Mark Simmet.