NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — While Tennessee Senate Republicans are signaling they’re ready to end the special legislative session on public safety, parents of Covenant survivors are not.
“We as a community are deeply disappointed that the Senate has adjourned until Monday. We have spent countless hours over the summer meeting with and working alongside these legislators, and to see the House and Senate at an impasse is frustrating and upsetting,” said Covenant mom Sarah Shoop Neumann.
Neumann and other members of Covenant Families for Better Tomorrows spoke to reporters Thursday and said they are exhausted by spending long days at the statehouse, but it’s worth it for the chance to help pass meaningful legislation.
“Please understand, this is not my full time job; I already have a full time job and I haven’t seen my children. None of us have seen our children this week because of the long hours and early mornings we have spent here at the Capitol, but then again, some of our children…our friends will never, ever see their children again,” said Covenant mom Melissa Alexander.
Fellow Covenant mom Mary Joyce said she has missed her children’s first days of fourth grade. Her daughter lost three friends the day of the shooting.
“It’s always the most exciting thing to see who’s in your class,” Joyce said of her daughter going back to school. “And so when they released class rosters, she was just devastated because that reality that her three friends weren’t there was so real, and so she was brought right back to the trauma of March 27 and we just keep replaying it and replaying it and it’s, it’s been really hard. Sometimes she’s up and then other times she’s not.”
Joyce also said her daughter lost 50% hearing in her left ear because that was the side closest to the door during the shooting.
“To us, we’re in the thick of it. We’re still in the trenches of this trauma and it’s not easy,” she said.
Alexander, Neumann, and Joyce said despite the stalemate between House and Senate Republicans, they will continue their fight.
“We don’t give up; we’ve got faith unlike anything else. We’ve literally lived through hell and we’re here and we’re still united in it, and we’re going to keep showing up every January for regular session after, and we’re going to do that until we get change,” Neumann said.
Alexander said this experience has been a “crash course” for them in the legislative process.
“We now fully understand the importance of primaries,” she said. “You’re going to see these faces again and again and again.”
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