NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Several months after tragedy struck at The Covenant School, a group of parents banded together to launch two nonprofit organizations aimed at promoting school safety and reducing gun violence.
Three children and three adults were killed on March 27 after a shooter entered the building of the private Christian school in Green Hills and opened fire.
Despite a “wide range of political views,” the parents of their fellow students, as well as the victims’ colleagues and other survivors said they now hope to prevent children from “experiencing anything like what happened in March 2023” again.
On Thursday, July 20, the group announced the creation of two nonprofits: Covenant Families for Brighter Tomorrows, which is focused on education and mental health support, and the Covenant Families Action Fund, aimed at driving legislative change.
“The mass shooting at our beloved school has forever been threaded into the story of our lives,” said Sarah Shoop Neumann, a mother of a student at The Covenant School. “Though the trauma will never truly dissipate; we have no choice but to continue moving forward. My hope is that through education and legislative advocacy we can bring beauty from these ashes in honor of lost lives that we mourn so deeply.”
According to the Covenant Families for Brighter Tomorrows’ website, one of the group’s primary objectives is to advocate for measures that enhance school security, including improved infrastructure, increased training and updated emergency response systems.
The group also supports increased mental health resources in schools and plans to promote “responsible firearm ownership” by advocating for stricter background checks, closing loopholes in gun laws and supporting legislation that ensures firearms are safely stored.
In a news release, the group said they are “dedicated to working with anyone who will respect all political and ideological viewpoints.” Both nonprofits also commended Gov. Bill Lee’s decision to convene a special session to respond to calls for legislation reducing gun violence.
However, the governor still has not officially called for the special session, which was slated to begin in August. Families of The Covenant School students have been engaged in 40 days of prayer intended to help the state legislature seek “wisdom” leading up to the special session.
“We mourn deeply the loss of our staff and classmates and feel called to share our story with the hopes of creating a dialogue,” said Melissa Alexander, another Covenant School parent. “Through our advocacy, we hope to effect real change and make our community and schools a safer place, preventing future tragedies and protecting the lives of all children and staff.”