Families detail stress, terror and sadness after Nashville school shooting in court documents

In Nashville, Tennessee, Katherine Heath observes her third-grade child lying on her spouse’s chest whenever the child experiences a “sad day,” almost three months following a tragic incident where six individuals lost their lives due to a shooter at her daughter’s school.

In the absence of her closest companion, Heath’s daughter is now noticeably isolated, receiving therapy, and adapting to a life following the loss of several classmates.

“In a recent legal document,” Heath stated, “she will simply respond ‘yes’ in a subdued manner, and he will express something along the lines of ‘It has been a challenging month, darling.'” She will approach my spouse and gently rest on his torso.

Before fatally shooting three adults and three children, Audrey Hale, a former 28-year-old student at Covenant Christian private elementary school, indiscriminately opened fire in March. The judge refused to compel the release of other documents and writings by the shooter, denying the request to provide images that would further disturb the still-shaken children. More than a dozen other parents wrote about life after the shooting at Covenant School on March 27, including Heath.

The judges expedited the appeal. The intervention of the church, the school, and Covenant parents, in determining whether the court proceedings should be temporarily halted, should be prevented. The appellate judges issued a stay on that particular case.

Others and school officials have expressed outrage at the possibility that they might not be allowed to intervene, arguing that releasing the records could not only retraumatize the already broken and hurting community, but also spark a copycat attack.

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The families are sobered by the shared details of terrified children who repeatedly wake up screaming and visibly show their joyless void. Many of these stories, tucked inside court documents, are particularly about the children who have spoken out about the impact of the Covenant shooting, which is the closest experience they have had with firsthand terror.

On that particular day, while he collaborates with a therapist to work through his emotions, her younger offspring, a boy in the third grade, persistently recalls recollections of the incident involving gunfire—during that moment, he happened to be outside during recess, she mentions, in relation to Heath.

“Mother, were you aware that I was wearing these shoes on the day of the incident?” He inquired.

“Yes, I’m incredibly proud of you for seeking refuge in a secure location,” she responded.

Bryan and Rachel, the three young boys, took several weeks to be able to sleep in their own beds before the ice maker, the dryer, or any noises could be avoided or deemed risky, as severe anxiety sparked with every footstep.

The Boltons wrote, “We had conversations about why this happened and the questions that were heavier than any other conversations we’ve had.” We attended five funerals in six days. Their childlike innocence was taken from them.

Mike Hill, a 61-year-old school custodian and one of Marquita Oglesby’s seven children, was the unfortunate victim of a murder. Marquita Oglesby struggles to reminisce about the past due to the traumatic memories of her father’s brutal killing.

Oglesby stated, “Every future moment will possess a significant sense of emptiness and sadness. This tragedy has transformed our lives into a whirlwind of anxiety, anger, and loneliness.”

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“There are sufficient “good individuals” present to prevent any future assailant, ensuring that police officers are there to safeguard the children and have discussions with their families, while also making sure they are separated.”

Erin Kinney, the mother of 9-year-old William Kinney who perished in the shooting, penned, “Wouldn’t the parents of the deceased children vociferously demand the disclosure of these records if there were any indication of a concealment or plot leading to the deaths of our children?” “Since we are aware that there is nothing to uncover, we all yearn for the exact opposite, and still.”

The Associated Press is not part of the lawsuit, but they have also requested the records. A gun-rights organization, a law enforcement nonprofit, a state senator, Star News Digital Media Inc., And The Tennessean newspaper are all advocating for the release of the records.

Deborah Fisher, the executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, expressed, “If the courts were to adopt public access to crime records, it would fundamentally change the current situation. The legal arguments presented by many of these courts are challenging, but it is difficult to oppose the heartfelt desires of the grieving parents, school, and church.”

Many Republican lawmakers in the GOP-dominated Tennessee Legislature won’t consider any possible gun control measures unless the shooter’s records have also become a lightning rod of political controversy. Most are focusing on the transgender shooter, touting the need to strengthen school buildings and largely dismissing concerns over the ease of accessing a gun in Tennessee.

The Republican Assembly General pushed legislation to pass, unsuccessfully, that would keep firearms away from people who could harm others or themselves. Governor Lee also championed the release of the records and the Bill.

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Lee promptly requested a unique gathering in August to once again discuss his suggestion after legislators declined to do so earlier this year. It is uncertain whether the legal action regarding the individual responsible for the shooting will still be in progress.

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