BENTON, Ky. (WKRN) — Over four years ago, a school shooting took place at Marshall County High School in Kentucky, leaving two students dead. Among them was Preston Cope, a 15-year-old who was killed by a classmate.
Ever since the horrific day, Preston’s family has been calling for change.
On January 23, 2018, Brian Cope told his son he loved him and watched as he took his last breaths. Tuesday, he watched as another mass shooting unfolded, this time at an elementary school in Texas.
Preston’s parents continue to work to implement safer schools around the country and say more needs to be done.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to these families because we know what they’re going through, it’s devastating,” Brian Cope said.
On Tuesday, at least 19 children and one teacher were shot and killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
For Brian, it brought back dreadful memories as well as anger that nothing has changed.
“Evil is going to get through we know that, but we can make it harder, and we can make it harder targets. Our schools are soft targets,” Cope said. “If we can protect our airports, we can protect the government buildings that we went through in Washington and protect all of our congressmen and representatives, why can’t we protect our children?”
Cope believes in beefing up security in every school. That means more school resource officers, metal detectors, additional security cameras and guests will have to be buzzed into the building.
“It’s not guns, it’s evil, if we take our guns away, they are going to find rocks, they are going to find other weapons. We need to focus on mental health,” Cope said. “If we have to raise taxes, whatever we have to do, we have to do something to protect these kids.”
The Copes say their faith has helped them through the most excruciating pain a parent could imagine.
“My youngest son, my only son left is named Maddox and he is a freshman and it was hard sending him back to Marshall County to start high school this year. We just believe in our trust in God that he is going to take care of him,” Cope said.
While Marshall County Schools have made steps to protect their students, Cope hopes Tuesday’s devastating shooting will be another wake-up call for politicians.