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Toledoans remember Uvalde victims, fear for their own one month after mass shooting

Shakayla Waters has a 13-year-old brother. After 22 people were killed at Robb Elementary on May 24, she is "having to worry about if he's gonna make it home."

TOLEDO, Ohio — June 22 marks 29 days since 19 children and two teachers were killed in Uvalde, Texas.

Fear has gripped many with loved ones in school after the shooter entered Robb Elementary School four weeks ago and committed one of the deadliest mass shootings in history.

And the pain is still being felt here locally as parents, students and former educators cope with the threat of gun violence where their children go to learn.

"It definitely took a lot out of me," Shakayla Waters, a student with three siblings, said.

"It drained me definitely considering my brother just turned 13," she said. "Thinking about him going to school and having to worry about if he's gonna make it home ... it was really painful."

It's an unbearable loss for students like Waters and mothers like Melissa Mouch as they reflect on their own families.

"I've got two kids at Toledo School for the Arts and I was definitely shocked when I heard what happened and scared because it can really happen anywhere," Mouch said.

Here in Ohio, today also marks about a week since Governor Mike DeWine signed a law allowing teachers to carry firearms in a classroom after 24 hours of training.

RELATED: Ohio teachers can now legally carry firearms in the classroom, but TPS is opting out

"That also scared me a lot. Especially my brother being a young Black man ... He also has a learning disability. So he's very misunderstood in school and I just ... having someone with a gun not knowing how to teach him," Waters said.

It's a move that also doesn't sit right with long-time former educator Jose Luna. 

"People are underpaid, overworked, and to ask them to become guardians. Armed guardians, I think is ridiculous," Luna, who is the former Hispanic Outreach Coordinator for Toledo Public Schools, said.

He said he'd rather see a bill that would give more funding for added security at schools. 

And while some parents and students admit they may not have all the answers, they want more conversations to happen before actions are taken. 

"That's not a fair position to put them in but at the same time, I mean, you don't know. It's gonna take a certain amount of time for a security guard or a cop to get there. So what do you do in that case?" Mouch asked.

"With my younger brother and younger siblings, they are definitely hard conversations to have but they are conversations that need to be had. And that's where I would start. With my family and my siblings," Waters said.

Waters, Mouch and Luna all said they are not against people owning guns, but don't want guns available for purchase to everyone who walks in a store and meets the current requirements.

RELATED: First interior image released in Uvalde school shooting shows officers with more firepower than previously believed

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