An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Spokane Students Join Nationwide School Protests

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Gonzaga Prep students in Spokane joined their peers around the nation this morning (Wed) in remembering the students killed this year in school-related shootings.

Though the Beatles’s “Revolution” was playing in the school gym, the Gonzaga Prep walkout was a respectful one. School administrators supported it. And the tone from students like Sidney Semenza was about trying to find common ground.

“The people that are coming before us, the older generation, I think they care about what’s happening. But I think we’re so divided by partisan lines that people can’t just come together and have a conversation. So what we’re trying to do today is get rid of all the partisan politics and just get down to what needs to happen,” Semenza said.

A few students made brief presentations and then showed a video highlighting one of the student survivors of last fall’s shooting at Freeman High School. Then the 200 or so students came to the floor of the gym to create signs with messages such as “Puns Not Guns” and “Make America Safe Again.” Some students used tablets to send messages to elected officials or to register to vote.

Jaime Dorsh says she was in class when she began getting notifications on her phone about the Parkland, Florida school shooting. After digesting what happened and watching the student activists there, she was convinced Gonzaga students would want to speak up as well.

“I want them to know that we can advocate for safe schools, that we can talk to our representatives," Dorsh said.

When the students finished in the gym, they walked out in a cold drizzle to the school’s football stadium. They recited the names of people killed in U-S schools during this academic year. Members of the school choir sang John Lennon’s “Imagine.” For the rest of their 17-minute event, they stood in silence in honor of the Parkland shooting victims and Sam Strahan, the student killed during the Freeman shooting.

The organizers encouraged students to join in a citywide march against school violence in downtown Spokane on Saturday, March 24.