NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Parents of students at The Covenant School are sharing reaction regarding Gov. Bill Lee’s decision to call for a special legislative session on “public safety.”
In a release sent to News 2, Covenant Families Action Fund, an organization made up of Covenant parents, staff, and survivors, voiced their support for the session after several months of anticipations.
“We are glad that the governor and legislature appear to be taking the threats to our communities seriously,” the release read.
“We are grateful to Governor Lee for following through on his promise to call this special
session,” said Sarah Shoop Neumann in the release, a mother of a student at The Covenant School. “We plan to review proposals as they come up and endorse specific bills.”
Covenant Families Action Fund also supported the apparent focus on mental health, but said the top priority should be fully funding mental health professionals and “improving the usability of the system for youth and their families.”
In addition to the mental health angle, Covenant Families Action Fund also supports steps to improve the Tennessee background check system.
“We hope that temporary firearm removal, including establishing a judicial mechanism to keep
guns away from people in moments of crisis, is also fully considered,” they said in the release.
“The special session is a positive step toward keeping the children and citizens of Tennessee
safer,” said Melissa Alexander, another parent of a Covenant School student. “The vast
majority of Tennesseans support common sense gun safety measures.”
The special session will begin Monday, Aug. 21 at 4 p.m.
The full release can be found below.
On March 27, six people, including three children, were shot and killed by 28-year-old Audrey Hale at The Covenant School in Green Hills. The victims were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all 9 years old; as well as Cynthia Peak, 61; Dr. Katherine Koonce, 60; and Mike Hill, 61.
Investigators executed search warrants the same day of the shooting from the Hale family home. The search of the Brightwood Avenue home took place just hours after the shooting.
Inside the home, officers found two shotguns, one in a bedroom closet and another next to a desk in a bedroom. A suicide note was found on a desk in one of the bedrooms.
There were also five Covenant School yearbooks taken from the home. Investigators also seized what they described as a psych medical folder. Hale was also reportedly under doctor’s care for an “emotional disorder.”
According to police, a total of 152 rounds (126 rifle rounds and 26 nine-millimeter rounds) were fired from the time Hale shot into the school to the time Hale was shot and killed by police.
The debate over whether The Covenant School shooter‘s writings should be released to the public continues to play out in the court system.
The shooter’s family has given legal ownership of the documents seized from the Brightwood Avenue home and the shooter’s car, including the so-called “manifesto,” to the children of The Covenant School.
The judge has yet to rule on if the writings should be released to the public.