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Lobbying for change

EDUCATION | Families from Nashville’s Covenant School organize for gun control and school safety

Camden Hall/SIPA USA via AP

Lobbying for change
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Families from the Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn., the site of a deadly school shooting earlier this year, announced the launch of two advocacy groups on July 20. Five ­parents told Tennessee journalists that the nonprofit Covenant Families Action Fund would lobby for measures requiring safe weapon storage, stricter background checks, and ­prevention measures to keep people who are threats to themselves or others from accessing guns. The ­second nonprofit, Covenant Families for Brighter Tomorrows, will advocate for mental health resources in addition to school safety measures and stricter gun ownership laws.

“It’s going to take everybody in the state,” David Teague, a Covenant School parent and co-founder of both nonprofits, said at a press ­conference. “We just need to lower the volume and stop screaming at each other—talk to one another, see the humanity in each other, and we can find common ground to help make our children safer.”

Following raucous gun control advocacy at the State Capitol earlier this year, Gov. Bill Lee called for a special session beginning Aug. 21 to address the issue. Ahead of that ­session, Covenant Families for Brighter Tomorrows has organized 40 days of prayer, a series of daily morning prayer services the group said in a social media post are “NOT a time for policy debate or discussion of political issues.”

The group hasn’t published detailed policy specifics on its website but said it has met with various ­legislators to discuss gun violence in schools. It said about 60 families from the Covenant School and church community make up the group. A disclaimer at the bottom of its site notes the nonprofit is not affiliated with the Covenant School or the associated Covenant Presbyterian Church. More than 100 families had children enrolled at the school at the end of the last school year.

A former student at the private Christian school shot and killed three 9-year-old students and three school employees, including the headmaster, on March 27. Covenant parents have disagreed over whether police should release the shooter’s manifesto to the public.


Students carrying trauma

A July report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that in 2021, 1 in 5 children in lower income families had gone through a trauma-inducing “adverse childhood experience.” In families with income levels at least double the federal poverty level, fewer than 1 in 8 children had ever had an adverse childhood experience, such as abuse, neglect, homelessness, or separation from parents. Studies show that children who experience trauma face greater difficulties in school, becoming more likely to be suspended, be absent, or score low grades. —L.D.

Lauren Dunn

Lauren covers education for WORLD’s digital, print, and podcast platforms. She is a graduate of Thomas Edison State University and World Journalism Institute, and she lives in Wichita, Kan.


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