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(Staff photo: Kevin Featherly)
(Staff photo: Kevin Featherly)

Bar Buzz: Student protest at the Capitol

Students listen to a speaker during a rally calling for government action to prevent school shootings Wednesday at Leif Erickson Park, directly across the street from the Minnesota Capitol in St. Paul. Hundreds of students from schools across the Twin Cities metro area congregated at St. Paul’s Central High School at 11 a.m. Wednesday, then walked 20 blocks to the Capitol grounds under police escort. One of the signs pictured here reads: “I am not target practice.”

Toya Stewart Downey, interim communication director for the St. Paul Public Schools, said the district had known the protest was coming for about a week after seeing it publicized on a website and on social media, She said that is apparently how it was organized. “That’s how these kids roll these days,” she said.

The protest was staged just hours after Gov. Mark Dayton proposed a “Safe and Secure Schools Act,” which would provide $21 million for enhanced mental health resources and safety for students, teachers, parents and staff at Minnesota schools. Meanwhile, two GOP bills focused on beefing up school security are moving through legislative committees. However, two DFL bills aimed at curbing gun violence stalled in a House committee last week.

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