The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

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The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

Horizon

The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

Horizon

Iowa School Shooting

Iowa+School+Shooting
Jasmine Ostroff

Tragedy struck Perry High School in Perry, Iowa, on January 4. Following the district’s first day back from winter break, armed 17-year-old student Dylan Butler fatally shot a sixth-grade student, Ahmir Jolliff, and wounded four other students and the school’s principal, Dan Marburger. Butler would later take his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot. Police reported that Butler was armed with a pump-action shotgun and a small-caliber handgun. Later, they found and secured an explosive device among Butler’s possessions. The shooting marked the second shooting on school property in the U.S. in 2024, according to CNN’s website (CNN.com). AP U.S. Government and politics teacher John Cornicello commented, “It is scary and horrible to think about.”

Erica Jolliff, Ahmir’s mother, was “horrified to hear ” that Butler was bullied for years and that the school did nothing to intervene, sending her condolences to Butler’s family, as mentioned in an article on KCCI Des Moines (an Iowa news station). In response to those referring to Butler as a “school shooter” or similar names, Jolliff said, “Calling him names rather than Dylan potentially triggered the events that happened on Jan. 4,” as quoted on PBS News (PBS.org). However, Butler’s and Jolliff’s were not the only deaths resulting from the shooting on January 4.

At approximately 8:00 am on January 14, Perry High School Principal Dan Marburger died due to injuries he sustained from the shooting. According to CNN, Marburger acted heroically that day, being shot multiple times as he attempted to talk to and distract the shooter while other students escaped from the cafeteria, where the shooting mainly occurred. Marbuger’s daughter, Claire, shared on social media: “I instantly had a feeling my Dad would be a victim as he would put himself in harm’s way for the benefit of the kids and his staff,” as quoted by CNN (CNN.com).

Governor Kim Reynolds of Perry, Iowa, issued a statement regarding the shooting as well as Marburger’s death that same day. Reynolds offered her condolences to his wife and family before ordering all flags in Iowa to be lowered to half-staff until sunset on the day of Marburger’s funeral “as a sign of respect,” according to the state of Iowa’s official website (Iowa.gov). Senior Grace Loiselle said, “It’s a great way to honor Marburger’s selfless act.”

The day following Marburger’s death, parents of Perry School District campaigned for better school safety measures at a school board meeting. One parent, Grace Castro, “suggested the installation of metal detectors…a temporary remote learning option…enforcement of a clear-bag policy as ‘the absolute least [the school] can do,’” according to a PBS News article. So far, the Perry School District is planning to have police officers on the school grounds as students come back. Senior Olivia Pollicino said, “I think that the school needs to take concrete steps to help the students adjust back to their regular day.”

Governor Reynolds, during a recording of Iowa Press, a PBS show, claimed that “No additional gun laws would have prevented what happened,” as quoted by the Quad-City Times (QCTimes.com). However, many students and citizens felt differently. Following the shooting, hundreds of students, parents, legislators, and other activists staged a school walkout and rallied at the Iowa Capitol to “‘send a message’ to Iowa lawmakers,” according to PBS. Chloe Gayer, a student organizer of the walkout, said, “In the last few years, we’ve seen Iowa lawmakers gut safety legislation that we have in this state, and we want to show that that’s not acceptable,” as quoted in the same PBS article. Gayer is likely referring to the Iowa legislature passed in 2021 that stated that a permit would not be required to purchase a handgun or carry a firearm in public, although still requiring a background check before purchase. Cornicello added, “There are a number of options, ones that include tightening gun laws, enacting gun reform measures, or establishing a culture of gun safety…this is how change happens.”

The Perry High School shooting has drawn more attention to the controversial issue of gun-control, especially in states with looser legislation like Iowa. 

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About the Contributor
Eliza Fucci, Editor
Hi, my name is Eliza Fucci, and I’m a member of the Class of 2024. I am also a part of GirlUp, S.T.A.R.T., S.K.I.P., and NHD club. In my free time, I love to read, listen to music, and hang out with my friends. I also love being a part of Horizon!