How local teachers are talking to their students about creating change

SPOKANE, Wash. – Students at Ferris High School joined others across the country by walking out of class in protest of gun violence. 

Students continue to demand change since the Uvalde massacre, but some question how much change can happen with a group standing outside, holding signs with their demands. 

READ: Ferris High School students walk out of class to protest gun violence

Local teachers are talking to their classes about how to make a difference beyond walking out and protesting. 

University High School civics teacher Ryan Montang has talked to his students about making change happen. He says it’s by getting the attention of lawmakers and voting. 

While not all high school students are able to vote, Montang says bringing attention to issues by protesting does make a difference. He believes it allows younger advocates to get involved. 

In addition to that, he talks to them about the importance of voting when they get to that age. 

“Figuring out a vote is the pinnacle of democracy and being involved and having your voice, and so as we talk about these things and students are learning this and knowing who the reps are and developing your own opinion, they want to be able to voice those opinions,” Montang said.  

Montang is also teaching students to have uncomfortable conversations. While conversations surrounding politics are all student-led, he wants to make sure students see both sides.

“That’s another thing we talk about in class is, you might be left-leaning or you might be right-leaning, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good ideas on the other side of the aisle and being able to have those conversations,” he said.

Junior Xzavier Elgee Sanders understands that, knowing that he has to have some conversations with friends that may make him feel uncomfortable.

“Being able to open up the conversation with your friend group and say that maybe you feel uncomfortable or you have disagreements is necessary,” he said.

The ultimate voice is to vote, and those who can say they’re working with their friends to make a difference.

“I think it’s important within our friend groups to have a discussion of how we feel, what changes we feel our government needs to make and how we feel like we can vote to improve it,” said Clare Deyarmin, a senior at University High.

READ: ‘End gun violence’: Lewis and Clark High School students walk out in unity to support Uvalde shooting victims