Alderman Gabrielle Hanson told a podcast and radio show the shooting was the result of a “love triangle” involving the shooter. Hanson offered no evidence to support these claims.
“You may be offended by what she said or you may agree with what she said, the issue is is what she has said or done a violation of the code?” said Franklin Ethics Commission member Jim Martin.
In total, 64 complaints were made against Hanson, most of which were connected to her comments about the Covenant shooting.
Since Hanson made her claims, Covenant parents have been calling for her resignation or dismissal from the board.
“Alderman Hanson publicly slandered the victims of the March 27 massacre at our school. She has caused further pain and anguish to the surviving staff and families. I can personally tell this board every detailed she talked about publicly was false,” said Jason Rowlett, a parent of a student at The Covenant School.
Rowlett said Hanson’s comments were not only hurtful and cruel, but also minimized the trauma their children experienced. He added that any claim that she is a representative of Franklin and the tragedy happened in Nashville were attempts to “insulate [Hanson’s] culpability.”
“Yes, it happened in Nashville, but I’m here to also tell you how it happened in Franklin and how it continues to happen in Franklin as it’s played out through the PTSD of our children and us parents,” Rowlett said at a Franklin City Council meeting in the days before the ethic commission’s decision. “It happens every night when our children don’t want to sleep alone because they’re scared.”
However, according to the unanimous ruling of the Franklin Ethics Commission, nothing the alderman said goes against the city’s ethics code.
“I don’t see anything in there that has prohibited an alderman to say how they feel about the Covenant incident on March the 27th, whichever way they feel about it,” said Jerry Sharber, a member of the Franklin Ethics Commission.
Hanson also faced complaints for the comments she made about Franklin Pride and calling the group “Free Mom Hugs” pedophiles. Those complaints were dismissed as well.
Hanson did not respond to request for comments on the commission’s decision.