MINNEAPOLIS - Our yearlong journey with the students and staff of Lucy Laney continues as those students and staff seek to use their voices for change.
Recently, KARE 11 followed some of them as they went to the Minneapolis City Council, calling on those council members to do something about the shootings in their community.
Now the kids are in phase two of their civic activism, holding the power structure accountable as it pertains to urban planning.
Five years ago, Hennepin County began planning major improvements along Penn Avenue in north Minneapolis, a corridor high in traffic and crime.
After reaching out for community feedback through meetings, online comments and door knocking, final plans include major improvements to a four-block section from Broadway to Lowry.
The upgrades include grassy boulevards to buffer pedestrians from traffic, better signage and lighting, and bump outs to slow traffic.
Just two blocks north of this project sits Lucy Laney Elementary, where last week students started a petition asking the county to extend the plans north to include their school, worried about the crime outside their doors.
Hennepin County met with the school last week to listen to the students' concerns.
"We really want them to feel ownership over the improvements that are made there, because they engaged in the process and they were effective and we really appreciated their sincerity and the stories that they had to share. This is not an us versus them situation, we all share the same interest and that is protecting kids when they're getting to and from school."