TACOMA, Wash. – Nate Bowling's government class at Lincoln High School isn’t therapy.
"This is class. I want to have an informed conversation,” said Bowling. “I want to use what we know to help explain what we saw."
For a blue classroom in the blue city of Tacoma in a blue state of Washington, many of Bowling’s students are grappling with a new reality: Donald Trump will be the President of the United States.
"At first I was like, ‘Hillary can do this, I'm not worried,’ and as it went on, I was like, ‘Oh no,’" said senior Tyler Zamira.
Students are surprised and have been disappointed in some of the things Trump has said.
"He’s said disrespectful things towards people of color, toward women, to minority groups," said Mikayla Johnson, 17. "Being a queer woman of color, right now it's hard, and it's scary me."
In class, Bowling tried to get students to move before their feelings.
"This is one of the reasons that you all are surprised by the results. You didn't see this coming, because everybody you talk to, everyone you live around looks, thinks, and sounds like you," Bowling said.
Students know that the country looks different than their immediate circle and know that even in their despondency, civility is required, and optimism is much needed.
"I think to those of you who are disappointed about the election, this is a lesson on how to conduct yourself," said Bowling.
Although a tough pill to swallow, it’s one lesson Johnson will take to heart.
"I know that I have to keep it together if people want to take me seriously,” Johnson said. “If I want to get my point across, if I ever want to try to get through.”