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Iowa State Daily

Iowa State’s reaction to the Perry High School shooting

Jacob Rice
Iowa State University Police vehicle parked outside of Troxel Hall. Sept. 25, 2023.

Content Warning: This article contains mentions of gun violence.  


Iowa State students and the Iowa State University and Ames police departments reacted to gun violence and safety plans after the Perry High School shooting from Jan. 4.

Since the beginning of 2024, there have been eight school shootings in the United States, including Perry High School, where a sixth-grader was killed. The school’s principal later died from injuries sustained in the shooting and four others were injured. The shooter also died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Carrie Jacobs, assistant chief of police for the Iowa State Police Department (ISUPD), said the department’s perspective of the issue has not changed, as they have always recognized it could happen anywhere at any time. 

What happened in Perry is an example that gun violence touches all communities within the country and not just specific cities or regions,” Jacobs said. 

Rachel Meier, a sophomore in elementary education, said she was alert about gun violence before, but now she is even more alert since it was so close to home. Meier said she was substitute teaching at a school in Ankeny, Iowa, and was in the breakroom when she heard the news. 

“All of the associates that were in there, they just had the most like, not blank stares on their faces, just shocked looks because I think it puts you in the perspective of like, what if that was us right now?” Meier said.

Olivia Waters, a senior in biology, said she thinks there is not enough support for individuals who commit crimes like school shootings, nor are there good policies around guns. 

“Everyone’s always so scared, ‘Oh, you make a law you’re gonna take away my guns,’ and it’s like, no, but there should be extensive background checks,” Waters said.

Waters said the point of disagreement on guns, a topic frequently debated by governing bodies nationwide, is sad. 

“Right now we are so divided. And it’s just so sad because we can’t even agree on saving lives. Like there’s literally children in school and we’re making it this big political thing,” Waters said. 

Meier said she thinks gun violence is a growing problem because mental health issues are being pushed aside. 

“When I think about schools, like the districts that are growing, I feel like just keep pushing these kids that struggle with mental health or getting bullied aside because they want to care about other stuff,” Meier said. 

ISUPD provides response training to students, and Jacobs said the department has training to recognize disruptive behavior and violent incident response training. 

RRDB – Responding and Recognizing Disruptive Behavior. This training focuses on recognizing the warning signs of escalating and disruptive behavior and teaches a way to mitigate potential acts of violence before the onset of the problem becomes unmanageable. 

VIRT– Violence Incident Response Training. This training promotes an options-based response and teaches a flexible set of principles that may be adapted to any violent encounter. Based around the principles of Avoid, Deny, Defend, this training provides options to help you survive a violent situation,” Jacobs stated in an email to the Daily. 

To participate in these trainings, contact [email protected] or call 515-294-4428.

Amber Christian, administrative sergeant and public officer for Ames PD, said the department has trained the Story County Sheriff’s Office, ISUPD and the Ames School District for active shooters and violent intruders. 

“We train our officers to go direct to threat, move quick towards the threat and solve the problem. From what I know of what happened in Perry, they did it right, and that’s what we do,” Christian said. 

Christian said she believes departments are ready to respond in the event of a shooting. 

“We hope we never need this training, but I firmly believe our officers, our supervisors and I am ready to respond,” Christian said.

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  • J

    Jack J | Feb 15, 2024 at 8:12 am

    “Right now we are so divided. And it’s just so sad because we can’t even agree on saving lives. Like there’s literally children [dying] in school and we’re making it this big political thing,” Waters said.

    There. Fixed it for you.