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Metro Atlanta students sound alarm, share perspectives after Texas school shooting

Students across metro Atlanta spoke out about the tragedy in Texas and what they think needs to change.

ATLANTA — Over the last two days, 11 high school students from across metro Atlanta came to 11Alive's studios to talk about how the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas is affecting them and what they think needs to change.

The seniors of the group started kindergarten in 2009, 10 years after the Columbine shooting in Littleton, Colorado. For all the students, they don't remember a time when school shootings were not a reality and a very real danger.

11Alive's Tracey-Amick Peer asked the students questions to get their perspectives. 

Q: How did you find out about the shooting, and what went through your mind?

Paige Clayton, junior at North Atlanta High School: "The scariest part is finding out while at school, because you're in that environment where something so tragic happened. It just... it hits so close to home, it doesn't feel real."

Seth Parker, sophomore at McEachern High School: "I found out about the shooting through Instagram. I think I'd seen it on somebody's story. And the first thing I thought was just like, 'How could somebody do that to a bunch of kids?' Like, these kids haven't even touched middle school yet."

Hill Curtis, sophomore at Holy Innocents: "For one, you see another school shooting that, it's unfortunate to see how many that there are. And then you see one that happens to children -- second and third graders. It's just awful."

Q: What's in place at your school to keep you safe, and do you feel safe when you're at school?

KJ Ford, sophomore at McEachern High School: "We have some protocols, you know, code red, etc. to protect us but those aren't -- I wouldn't say efficient enough to prevent these things from happening."

Joshua Song, senior at Mill Creek, High School: "We have a couple of police officers there and stuff like that, but just the fact that we have so many people, we're not able to just check everyone to see, you know, what's in their bookbags or anything like that."

Q: Many schools have active shooter drills... what goes through your mind when that's happening?

Ryan Kelly, junior at Holy Innocents: "It's just an excuse not to do class for the moment, but now that we see more of these things happening, it's like, oh man, maybe we should pay more attention to this."

Bruce Thornton, senior at Milton High School: "Sometimes when kids joke around, they just talk like this could be a real drill, like you never know."

Q: Are adults doing enough right now when it comes to school safety? If not, what do you think they should do?

Julie Mo, junior at Duluth High School: "Something that we fail to talk about, especially nowadays within society and within schools, is the issue of like mental health."

Sumner Copeland, sophomore at Holy Innocents: "I don't know what should change, I just know something should change, because this keeps happening."

Chase Cormier, senior at Milton High School: "You always want to feel safe and all that, but at the end of the day, unexpected events can happen, and it's least expected and... you don't know what to do."

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