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Campuses work to support students coping with stress of social justice issues, pandemic

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MADISON (WKOW) -- As protests resume over the police shooting of Breonna Taylor, campuses are working to make sure students are supported.

Taylor was shot multiple times by officers who burst into her home March 13 during a drug investigation.

A Kentucky grand jury decided Wednesday not to bring charges against Louisville police officers in connection with her death.

Prosecutors say two officers who fired their weapons were justified in using force to protect themselves. The grand jury did bring three charges of wanton endangerment against fired officer Brett Hankison, for shooting into the homes of Taylor's neighbors.

The news is a disappointment for communities fighting for change. Many are young people and students at college campuses.

Madison College counselors say right now, students are dealing with a lot of social stresses, including the pandemic, the election and police shootings like this one, so it can impact their classwork.

"We help them stay focused on the needs of the day, stay connected with loved ones, process their feelings, even in normal times, help them make plans to deal with challenges right in front of them," said John Boyne, counseling faculty member. "In this case with all these extra social challenges it's even harder, so acknowledging that and building in extra support as much as possible."

Madison College is hosting a social justice forum next Wednesday afternoon for students to come together virtually and talk about these issues. It was already set before the decision in the Taylor case was released.

The college hosted a similar event after the death of George Floyd.

"The  content was excellent and conversations were really powerful and I think it was really important for students to have a forum focused on their needs," Boyne said.

This upcoming forum is only open to students at Madison College.

UW-Madison's diversity office also shared support Wednesday on Twitter for students struggling with concerns over social issues and the Breonna Taylor case.

Jennifer Kliese

Weekend Anchor and Reporter, 27 News

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