Q13 FOX Season of Giving

‘They’re tired of it:’ A Washington Teacher of the Year on teens, gun violence and arming teachers

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SEATTLE — As thousands of Washington students took part in a day of action demanding stricter gun legislation from Congress, the 2016 Washington Teacher of the Year told Q13 News students are ready for big change.

“They’re better than us,” Lincoln High School teacher Nate Bowling said. “They’re better than you and I. They want to better their beliefs.”

Bowling said all too often he hears about youth complacency from other adults. But Wednesday’s day of action on gun control should show parents and adults that teens yearn for change.

"They've grown up with having this normalized," Bowling said, referring to gun control. "They're tired of it."

Students at Lincoln High School have been preparing for weeks for the National School Walkout, a protest sparked by last month's Parkland school massacre. The students' main demands from Congress and local leaders is a ban on assault weapons, require universal background checks before gun sales and a gun violence restraining order law.

"They want to know why a 19-year-old can't buy a beer but can buy a gun," Bowling said.

Bowling's students understand the gridlock in Congress, so they are pushing for change locally. Students have contacted local legislators. Bowling is a military veteran,and a gun owner.

But he doesn't want teachers armed in schools, calling the idea "preposterous."

"The idea that in an active shooter situation, I'm going to trounce into the hallway and play hero is preposterous," Bowling said.

Bowling argues that despite the recent action, most of his students feel safe in schools.