Nashville school shooting: How to support victims’ families and community

Three adults and three children were killed during Nashville school shooting

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Wednesday 29 March 2023 18:21 BST
Sabrina actor Melissa Joan Hart says she helped children flee Nashville school shooting

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Louise Thomas

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After a school shooting at a Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, left three children and three adults dead, people around the country are grieving those lost in the tragedy.

On Monday, a 28-year-old, who police say was a former student, allegedly entered the Covenant School in the Green Hills suburb and began shooting. The suspect, identified by police as Audrey Hale, was shot and killed by two responding officers.

Students Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all aged nine, and Head of School Katherine Koonce, 60, Cynthia Peak, 61, and Mike Hill, 61, were killed in the shooting.

As details continue to emerge about Hale and the shooting, the tragedy has left many eager to help the victims’ families and the community.

These are the ways you can support and aid the Nashville community.

Donate to GoFundMe fundraisers

In the aftermath of the school shooting, GoFundMe has created a page of verified fundraisers seeking donations to help those impacted by the tragedy.

As of 29 March, the crowdfunding platform has compiled a list of four verified fundraisers. The first fundraiser is dedicated to Hill, who was a custodian at the elementary school and the father of eight children. According to the GoFundMe, all proceeds will go directly to Hill’s family for funeral services, expenses and “to further dedicate to causes close to their hearts to facilitate healing in the Covenant and Nashville communities”.

“Mike, thank you for protecting Nashville’s children,” the GoFundMe’s description reads. As of Wednesday, the fundraiser has raised more than $396,000, far surpassing its $25,000 goal. You can donate here.

GoFundMe has also verified a fundraiser created by Victims First, an organisation dedicated to helping victims of mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and other mass casualty crimes, called the Nashville Covenant School Shooting Fund.

In the fundraiser’s description, it reads: “We are families of over two decades of previous mass shootings from across this country,” and that the donations will help the families of the deceased and wounded at the Covenant School.

As of Wednesday, the fundraiser has raised $254,647 of its $300,000 goal. You can donate here.

ViVE, a healthcare conference which was taking place in Nashville as the massacre unfolded, has also created a GoFundMe for “conference attendees and the entire healthcare community to help contribute to the families impacted”.

In addition to pledging a $50,000 donation together with the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and HLTH, the GoFundMe is seeking to raise $75,000. As of Wednesday, the fundraiser has raised $61,637. You can donate here.

A fundraiser has also been created by Everytown for Gun Safety, a charity dedicated to gun violence prevention and awareness, for The Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. According to the GoFundMe description, the fund was formed “both to educate the public about the detrimental effects of illegal guns to reduce gun violence in the United States and to lessen the burdens of government by assisting American local governments and law enforcement agencies in their efforts to develop effective policies to combat illegal guns”. You can donate here.

According to GoFundMe, it will continue to update the page with more fundraisers created in support of the community as they are verified.

Donate to a Tennessee nonprofit managing donations for the Covenant School

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has created the Caring for Covenant Fund to manage donations to the school.

“Because of the outpouring of love from our generous and thoughtful community, we have established the Caring for Covenant Fund to manage the donations made in response to this tragedy. All donations made to the Fund will be directed to The Covenant School to support the healing of those affected by this tragedy,” the organisation’s website reads. “Together, we will send a message of love and compassion to the entire Covenant community.”

You can donate here.

Speak to your children

In addition to supporting the Nashville community and those impacted by the tragedy through donations, experts also encourage parents to speak with their own children about the school shooting.

According to experts, it is important for parents to have these discussions because it allows them to address their child’s fears and comfort them, while also giving children the opportunity to process their feelings and ask questions.

The tragedy also creates the opportunity for parents to talk to their children about what they can do to help those impacted by the shooting. Although Dr Robin Gurwitch poignantly acknowledged to The Independent that “elementary school children can do nothing about gun laws,” she said parents can have a discussion with children about how to treat one another.

If the child is older, parents may involve them in helping those who are directly impacted, by volunteering or through community advocacy.

Seek resources if you need help

Individuals around the country impacted by the tragedy may also rely on resources available to help themselves or their children navigate the traumatic experience.

Parents can find a number of resources on the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, which can be found here, while the American Psychological Association (APA) has compiled a list of tools and guidance for those in distress after a shooting, which can be found here.

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