Students planning walk out over LGBTQ bills in legislature

WEST LIBERTY — Students in more than a dozen Iowa school districts are planning to walk out of their classes today  — a protest against bills in the legislature they say will hurt LGBTQ people.

Celeste Vargas, a sophomore at West Liberty High School, says it will show solidarity with students worried about bills banning transgender health care for teens and criticism of books about LGBTQ issues. “It really puts a demeaning factor on gay and trans people, and it gives a lot of prejudice towards to people who aren’t of that community,” she says.

Allison Toro is also a sophomore at West Liberty High. She says the walk-out will show LGBTQ students they have support in school. “Some people don’t have much support and then when you walk out, they feel seen,” Toro says.

Walkouts are planned this afternoon at schools in Ankeny, Ames, Bettendorf, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Iowa City, Johnston, Marion, Storm Lake, Urbandale, Waukee, West Des Moines and West Liberty. A student protest is also planned at Iowa State University.