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'When is it going to stop?' JCPS community expresses concern over school safety

Thursday is the last day of school for JCPS, but with the devastating school shooting in Texas, are parents sending their kids to class Thursday?

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Thursday is the last day of school in Louisville, but with the devastating school shooting in Texas, are Jefferson County Public School parents sending their kids to class Thursday?

WHAS11 spoke to a mother and a grandmother Wednesday evening, who said they are staying the course, despite being on edge.

Angela Wilson was emotional as she sat next to her granddaughter, Carli Hemphill. Hemphill just graduated from Johnson Traditional Middle School and is an upcoming Central High School freshman.

“It is scary to know you can't be there to protect them all the time,” Wilson said. “It's just heartbreaking and it's like when is it going to stop?”

It’s a question parents across the country are asking in the wake of a school shooting in Texas that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

The news is why several parents Wilson knows kept their kids from school Wednesday; it’s something she would have done, but Hemphill was already on the bus stop, unaware of the news until a friend told her.

"I was like those are kids,” Hemphill recalled. “Who would shoot kids? They barely even lived life."

The victims were in fourth grade, not much younger than Brittany Fears' daughter who just graduated fifth grade at Foster Academy in Louisville.

"I don't want her going to school looking over her shoulder or worried about if that's going to happen at her school,” Fears said.

She said while she's comfortable sending her daughter to school for the last day Thursday, she's concerned about the number of guns found in JCPS this year.

"I feel uneasy about it. I'm happy that they're catching the guns, but I'd rather the guns not be brought in the school in the first place,” she said.

JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio spoke Wednesday afternoon for the second time about the shooting.

He said the district is on heightened alert for the final day of school Thursday. He added JCPS is set to hire safety administrators and 30 armed School Safety Officers next year.

However, Pollio said intervention has to start at home.

"We always end up talking about what can school systems do to prevent this when we have to ask ourselves, gosh there seems to be a lot bigger answers than what that school system can do,” he said. “I think access to guns is clearly problematic for us right now in schools and in society."

It’s a statement Wilson and Fears both agree with. They also said the statements from politicians in Texas fall on deaf ears because they say gun reform is needed, not sympathy.

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