Tragedy's Impact on Future College Students

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Knoxville (WVLT) - We've been bombarded with scenes of violence from the Virginia Tech campus, 33 people dead and 26 injured.

It leaves parents wondering how much they should allow their children to see.

What impact will it have, especially on high school seniors heading off to college in the fall?

WVLT's Jessa Goddard takes a look at ways to help your children maintain a sense of security in a world overwhelmed by violence.

"It can happen to anyone, anywhere. And that's just something you've got to deal with," says college-bound senior David Baker.

It's a difficult lesson for a high school senior to learn, that sometimes, things happen we can't control or explain, that there isn't always an answer to the question, why?

"And help them understand, there are some things we just don't have control over," says parent Ellen Blasius.

We assembled some college-bound seniors and their parents to talk about their concerns in the aftermath of the worst mass shooting in US history.

"Just because this particular incident happened on a campus, that it makes my college-going experience less safe?" says Caroline Blasius, a college-bound senior.

"With Caroline going to a big city, we've talked about all of the situations that happen living in a big city, and you know, using common sense to be safe, but something like this, you just can never plan for," Ellen says.

Clinical psychologist Doctor Andy Demick says when it comes to teenagers, parents should take a direct approach. "But put it in perspective. This is the worst tragedy of a mass shooting in U.S. history. It doesn't happen everyday."

But the questions are swiftly changing from why did this happen to how did it happen?

Many security experts are asking if the school's crisis planning and emergency communications system were up to task.

And parents of college-bound seniors are starting to ask the same.

"I think more measures will come because of this, just as the same way high schools -- there were many more security issues in place after Columbine," says parent Martha Baker.

Using it as an opportunity for some good to come out of a national tragedy.

Experts suggest you problem-solve with your child.

That might include plans on how you can maintain contact with in the event of a tragedy, like getting in touch by cell phone.

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