A Letter From Our Founder in Response to Tragic Events at Covenant School
Dear NCCS Families,
As you are surely already aware, a tragic shooting occurred this morning at the Covenant School in Green Hills. While school shootings should be unthinkable, they are a far too common occurrence in everyday life.
The Covenant School is just a few miles away and many Classical staff and families have connections to their community. When an incident occurs so close to home, I know it feels different. Personally, I felt uniquely scared, angry, and anxious. However, I also felt so grateful for our teammates who sprang into action – caring for their scholars and each other.
Across Nashville Classical, we will continue to keep the Covenant community in our thoughts and also will be taking some additional steps to make sure our community is both physically and psychologically safe.
Below, we’ve outlined some steps we took this morning, some general campus safety reminders, and some next steps.
- This Morning’s Incident: This morning, our team was in touch with local authorities who alerted us to the situation. We instituted a “lockout” procedure, closing our campus to any visitors and suspending outdoor activities. Within an hour, we received an all-clear at approximately 11:15am and resumed normal schedules and activities. Throughout the morning, our Operations team jumped into action and communicated clearly and directly. No classrooms went outside and no visitors came in the building during the brief window while our campus was closed.
- General Campus Safety: We operate a “closed” campus, which means all doors are kept closed and require a badge for entry. Our campus also experiences periodic safety checks from the MNPD and District School Security Office. These organizations provide us with valuable support and feedback, including reviewing safety drill plans, observing safety drills, and meeting with our School Operations Team. In the coming year, we also plan to add a safety vestibule to our main entrance, which will add a layer of enhanced security. This Spring, we’ll also be paying extra attention to keeping doors closed and asking all visitors to check in at the main entrance. As a reminder to families, please always go to the front office, bring a photo I.D. with you, and wear a visitor badge while on campus.
- Talking about the Incident: Today, the majority of our teachers refrained from discussing the incident with scholars. They were still processing the events themselves and, of course, we were learning about them in real time. Tomorrow, our teachers will be prepared to lead brief reflections during homeroom. These reflections may include sharing the event, reminding scholars that they are safe, and creating space to briefly reflect on what happened. Our Admin Team and School Counselor, Tonya Lewis, will be available for emotional support referrals, if scholars need someone to speak to or space to process. Finally, our staff will have access to our School Counselor for their own mental health and well-being. If you’d prefer your scholar does not participate in these conversations, please notify your child’s teacher and they will arrange an alternative activity tomorrow morning.
For parents and caregivers, we know you may be unsure of what to say to your children tonight. A list of helpful tips from child psychologists and other experts can be found here and advice from the American Association of Pediatrics can be found here.
Ultimately, while the advice varies by child and age, there is one thing all experts agree on – take care of yourself and your own well-being first. So, in the aftermath of this terrible event, we hope you know we are here for you and your children. We care about you and are grateful for the privilege of caring for them. Thank you for your trust and your partnership.