The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Opinion | Reynolds did not deliver her promise for gun safety to Iowa schools

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds promised $75 million in school protection, yet two years later, the schools still haven’t received those funds, and only bad policy has been passed.
Kathy Le/The Daily Iowan
Students walk toward downtown during a walkout for Iowa gun reform in Iowa City on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024. Following the first mass shooting of 2024 at Perry High School on Jan. 4, high school students across Iowa walked out of school in solidarity with the community of Perry. Over a hundred students from various Iowa City schools started outside of Iowa City High School and walked downtown to the Old Capitol on the Pentacrest.

Gun violence has become a repetitive part of the U.S. experience, and Iowa is no exception. The state government’s response has been entirely inadequate.

Iowa was promised over $75 million to fund school security in 2022. Two school shootings later, that money still has not been received and more gun expansion laws have been passed. Iowa’s state government has done a terrible job of combatting gun violence.

On Jan. 4, a deadly school shooting occurred at Perry High School, leaving a student and principal dead and seven others wounded. A year earlier, a shooting occurred in January 2023 at East High’s charter school in Des Moines, in which two students were killed.

Since these shootings, Iowa legislators have taken no action, instead expanding gun usage.

In June 2022, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Iowa would use over $75 million from pandemic relief funds to increase school security measures in schools, which came in response to the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

In an act of stunning hypocrisy, Reynolds signed a bill that would allow wider use of guns just a few weeks after the massacre at Uvalde. Even worse, she promised that over 1,500 Iowa schools would receive $50,000 to “fix vulnerabilities,” but many of those schools have still not received this funding.

According to the Associated Press, “most schools statewide have yet to receive funding, including those in Perry, a city of 8,000 people … ”

After these shootings and a failed opportunity to prevent them, it is clear the state government is incompetent at tackling gun violence. It’s not just the missing school funding—it’s also the gun expansion legislation.

The Iowa House passed a new bill in March to arm teachers at school. Teachers should not be responsible for protecting students from armed intruders. It’s not their responsibility to risk their lives to protect students, not to mention having access to guns in the classroom is dangerous for both the students and the teachers.

Reynolds told the public that the deaths of those in Perry and Des Moines were the fault of the education system, as the suspects “weren’t in school.”

“The tragedy is our educational system is letting these kids down. They should have been in school. We should be figuring out resources to help them stay there,” Reynolds said, according to KCCI.

While she has a point about students staying in school to avoid entering “a life of crime,” there are other ways to tackle gun violence that do not include giving weapons to teachers or expanding the usage of firearms.

Rather than doing the sensible thing in calling for stricter gun control or doing anything that can prevent criminals from obtaining their weapons, she blames the education system.

According to the Quad-City Times, Reynolds also said “no additional gun laws would have prevented what happened. There’s just evil out there.”

It seems as though Iowa’s legislators, and particularly Reynolds, simply do not care about school security, as they pitch nothing but bad idea after bad idea.

Even if it means someone should go down to the schools in person to hand over the money, that has to happen. The best way to increase school security is to get that money in the hands of the schools and to stop expanding the use of firearms.

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About the Contributor
Aaron El-Kerdani
Aaron El-Kerdani, Opinions Columnist
Fouad "Aaron" El-Kerdani is a third year student a the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinema. Prior to joining The Daily Iowan, Aaron did some journalism work for his classess involving interviews, photography, video editing, traveling to another country to cover an event, and his experience in film classess helped him develop these skills and gain knowledge on camera work and writing.