Mar 27, 2024 - News

Marking one year since The Covenant School shooting

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 31 - A woman looks on at the memorial for the Covenant School shooting victims at the Covenant School.

A memorial constructed last year to commemorate the victims of The Covenant School shooting. Photo: Johnnie Izquierdo for The Washington Post via Getty Images

March 27, 2023, began as a beautiful day.

Children at The Covenant School bounded through the playground. Surveillance video shows them happily bobbing up and down on a swing set that morning.

Moments later, violence shattered their joy, as a former student armed with multiple firearms carved a path of destruction through the little school on the hill.

Kindergarteners on the playground ran through the woods to find safety. Others hid in closets with teachers or stood like soldiers against their classroom walls as gunshots rang out.

Six people died in the mass shooting.

  • Student Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9
  • Student Will Kinney, 9
  • Student Hallie Scruggs, 9
  • Custodian Mike Hill, 61
  • Head of school Katherine Koonce, 60
  • Substitute teacher Cindy Peak, 61

Responding police officers charged into danger and confronted and killed the shooter.

In the months that followed, grieving families grappled with a tragedy that surpassed understanding. Thousands in Nashville and even more around the world walked alongside them during protests, vigils and the hard realities of day-to-day life.

  • Brentwood Hills Church of Christ opened its doors and converted Bible study rooms into classrooms so school could take place there.
  • Neighbors tied bright red bows to their mailboxes so that kids on their way to school could see they were not alone.
  • Mounted police officers introduced students to their horses, and therapy dogs came to campus. An organization connected traumatized families with the new pet pups that have helped the kids cope.

Those are the stories The Covenant School is lifting up in this "new season of healing."

"As we mark this painful anniversary, we find solace in the light that has emerged from the darkness," the school said in a new statement.

  • "It is with profound gratitude that we acknowledge the overwhelming outpouring of love and support we have received from our local Nashville community and around the world."
  • "Your kindness has been a beacon of hope, and the depth of your generosity profoundly moves us."
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