As protest takes place, Orono area schools on lockdown due to social media threats
By Harry Colbert, Jr., Managing Editor
To the chants of “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the NRA has got to go,” thousands of Minneapolis school students descended on Minneapolis City Hall in a citywide school walkout in wake of the shooting that killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Fla.
The Feb. 21 walkout came a week to the day after a former student at Stoneman Douglas High School used an AR-15 assault weapon to murder 17 and wound an additional 14. The senseless killings sparked national outrage, with students across the nation taking to the streets – and in many cases, to the offices of elected officials – demanding gun reform.
The mayor of Minneapolis and members of the Minneapolis City Council banded with the students calling for change.
“We stand with you and we’re going to push for an assault weapons ban at the state level,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, speaking to the students.
Frey said he would also be handing out voter registration forms to help the students further engage in the political process on the issue of gun control.
Punctuating how real the threat is to students’ lives, while many were protesting outside of Minneapolis City Hall, students in the Orono School District – a western suburb of Minneapolis – were on lockdown following two threats of violence received via social media. As of 2:45 p.m. the district remained on lockdown, with Orono police, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI being called in.
Even with public opinion heavily in favor of changes to the nation’s gun laws, the power the NRA has over many lawmakers was made evident in Florida when the state’s legislators – with students from Stoneman Douglas in their presence – refused to hear a motion, voting 71 to 36 against, to debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons in the aftermath the Parkland killings. In a bit if irony – or hypocrisy – the Florida House later passed a resolution declaring pornography a danger to the community.