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From discussion to action: A licensed counselor's advice on enacting change

Students across the nation staged a walkout Wednesday morning to voice their opinions on issues surrounding recent deadly school shootings (MGN)

Walkouts painted a stark picture of what has happened at far too many schools across the nation since the deadly Columbine school shooting in 1999.

Beyond activism, however, parents and students are wondering how to turn their fears about school safety into action.

As student demonstrations captivate the nation, the focus will turn to their parents, who can make certain their children's concerns do not fall on deaf ears.

One month after the deadly Parkland, Florida shooting, says it is easy to understand why parents and children are anxious, Licensed Counselor Regina Turner says.

"Anytime there is danger, it's going to bring up anxiety. It's the potential of danger. Human beings tend to get into their own head. What if this could happen, that could happen?"

Pointing to demonstrations and prayers from parents and students after last week's fatal Huffman High school shooting, the former school counselor says parents should take note of - and consider participating in - their children's activism.

Huffman High School students walked out Wednesday with their adult peers in protest of gun violence.

"The main thing is to talk about it at home and to respect their beliefs," says Turner. "The people who do these school shootings are ostracized, they are separated, and they don't have good support."

Turner also believes a lack of counseling in schools is a major issue.

She says more counselors would mean more support for troubled students walking through school hallways.

Turner says, "It's about putting more mental health professionals in the schools or associated with the schools. When I hear of a school shooting, I know that there is going to be something related to that kid as far as bullying and something in their home."

Most of all, Turner says this can't be considered a partisan issue.

"The main thing is to keep dialogue open and try to support kids. Everybody says its everybody else's problem, but it is all of our problem."

The counselor believes enacting change is essential to stopping gun violence. She also says there doesn't have to be total agreement on a plan of action. Turner explains part of this is not doing the same thing over and over again. She says mental health is the biggest component in tackling these interlinked issues.

Simply put, if you see something say something. It could be a game changer for someone's life.

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