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Palm Beach County parents of college students express concerns about school shootings

'It’s becoming too much of a norm,' Claudia Campbell says
Posted at 7:02 PM, Feb 14, 2023

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — College parents in Palm Beach County said what happened in Michigan is a nightmare they’ve thought about before, and a nightmare they now think about far too often.

“You know, you think about the kids that are there,” Claudia Campbell said.

Campbell can’t help but think of her own daughter, who is a freshman at Florida Atlantic University.

“I can’t even, like it literally hurts my insides,” she said.

The fear of a campus shooter is one always lurking in the back of the Loxahatchee mom’s mind.

“It’s becoming too much of a norm,” Campbell said. “Campuses are wide open.”

She said the fear she feels all the more today is a fear she’s tired of feeling.

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Claudia Campbell explains how school shootings have become the norm.

“I feel like we keep hearing about this, we accept it, we’re all ‘thoughts and prayers,’ but nothing’s changing,” Campbell said. “It happens more and more but when is something going to happen to protect not only kids in school but anyone?”

It’s a frustration Ray Jackson expresses too.

“The time was past. We’re past the time of saying the time is now, the time has passed,” he said.

Jackson’s daughter is a freshman at Florida Memorial University. He, like Campbell, can’t help but worry after the latest headline.

“I know they are adults in college, and we want to have the experience, but they need us,” Jackson said. “I'm on my way down after this to check on her.”

Jackson said he is unable to imagine if that shooting, just happened to hit closer to home.

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Ray Jackson shares how students need their parents' support now more than ever.

“To have a parent have their last phone call be the last time they’ll talk to their child, that’s scary to me,” he said.

A fear now passed Campbell and Jackson’s own children feel too. It’s a fear the parents don’t know how to handle.

“As a parent, how do you tell your kids it's OK, you're going to be fine, when you know you’re lying,” she said.

It’s a fear parents hope will turn to action.

“I am standing as a representation for other parents to let the children know, our conversation is, ‘We love you. There is hope for you.’”

Campbell believes the answer is a mixture of gun reform and increased mental health programs. Jackson feels the answer is rallying around the children in the community and letting them know there are options.

Both said this latest act of violence needs to be the last.