Security On Mind Of UT Parents

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Knoxville (WVLT) -- Months after a devastating massacre at Virginia Tech, students returned to the campus today, trying to move forward.

Almost 9000 new and returning students are checking into residence halls for fall semester move-in.

Counselors will be on hand for the students and faculty as memories of the campus shooting may likely resurface.

Thousands of University of Tennessee freshman are also moving onto campus today and the rest of this weekend.

We talked to parents about how they feel about leaving their children behind.

Parked along the street curbs, trucks are emptied out and carts are wheeled into the new home away from home for students.

"I'm excited," said Tiffany McCloud who is among more than 4300 freshman moving onto UT's campus this weekend. "It will be sad to leave my parents, but it'll be good."

"Mixed emotions," said Laura, Tiffany's mom who couldn't help but choked up about the thought of her youngest daughter leaving home. "The house was full of kids 24 hours a day, in and out, and all that's going to be gone, so it's going to be quiet."

But some parents can't wait for the empty nest.

"Gosh, we can travel," said Jane Cook. "We're celebrating our 30th anniversary in Hawaii this fall."

That's more time for mom and dad to think about their number one concern:

"Her safety, just being in a bigger place." said Laura who raised her children in a small town.

"Being our only daughter, there is a little more trepidation than when we sent the boys off to school," said Jane.

The touch of a button on the university's many blue light security boxes will notify UT Police immediately.

That's one of the reasons many parents say they feel good about leaving their children here.

"Just knowing that they can get immediate response from the blue lights, from all the security, the UTPD, that's a biggie," Jane said.

In wake of the Virginia Tech shooting, there's also a new program called UT ALERT.

It's an optional text messaging system that quickly informs everyone on campus in case of an emergency.

"They've done a real good job communicating with her through e-mail," Jane said.

Many parents say while they're satisfied with UT's campus security, it's up to their kids to use common sense.

"I just pray for her safety and that she'll always be at the right place at the right time," Laura said.

For more details on UT's campus security and freshman activities going on this weekend, you can click on the link below.

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