Main Street Nashville

Community invited to submit comments for upcoming meetings on school safety, guns

A thousand attendees gathered at Public Square Park for a city vigil for the six victims of the Covenant School shooting.

Community members are invited to submit questions, comments and concerns for three upcoming meetings on school safety and gun violence.

The meetings are being organized by Councilmember Jeff Syracuse, chair of the Metro Council Public Health and Safety Committee.

Questions, comments and concerns to be discussed at the meetings can be submitted online at Questions need to be submitted by noon the Friday before each meeting.

  • Wednesday, June 14 at 4 p.m. – Council Chambers, Historic Metro Courthouse This special Metro Council Public Health and Safety Committee meeting co-hosted with Education Committee Chair Councilmember Zulfat Suara will focus on school safety with the Metro Nashville Police Department, Metro Nashville Public Schools and the Nashville Fire Department. Representatives from the Tennessee Association of Independent Schools and the Catholic Diocese will also be at the meeting. State Representatives Bob Freeman (D-Nashville) and Caleb Hemmer (D-Nashville) will provide gun safety legislation updates.
  • Wednesday, June 21 at 6 p.m. – Hillsboro High School Auditorium A moderated panel discussion will feature Daniel Chapin, founder and president of The Uvalde Foundation for Kids; Shaundelle Brooks, co-founder and president of the Akilah Dasilva Foundation; and organization Moms Demand Action, in addition to pre-submitted questions from the public.
  • Wednesday, June 28 at 4 p.m. – Council Chambers, Historic Metro Courthouse A special Metro Council Public Health and Safety Committee meeting will focus on gun violence as a public health epidemic with the Metro Public Health Department, the Mayor’s Office of Community Safety, Metro’s Office of Family Safety and the Mental Health Cooperative.

In the days after the Covenant School shooting on March 27, Syracuse talked to organizations around the country such as the Uvalde Foundation for Kids and Sandy Hook Promise as well as a few cities that had also experienced a mass shooting.

“What I heard was don’t be in a rush to file a bunch of legislation. Take your time. Grieve. Take care of your community, the kids, the family. Focus on that first, and then be thoughtful on how you turn your grief into action,” Syracuse said.

Syracuse has been visiting parent advisory councils across the city and said parents are wondering about specific tools, options, technologies and trainings to do with school safety.

Information for these parents is coming from multiple sources. One of his goals for the meetings is to have one place where the community can get the information they need.

Questions, comments and concerns submitted online will be reviewed and addressed to the greatest extent possible at the meetings. Syracuse said that even if questions aren’t able to be addressed at the meetings, every submission will be responded to.

Syracuse hopes the meetings will help guide the city’s response to Covenant and advocacy for “common sense, pragmatic gun laws.”

“I’m really hopeful at the outcome of these three meetings that we have some level of clarity about what direction we can take as elected officials, about any legislation at the local level, what advocacy we can do broadly at the state and federal level,” Syracuse said at a school shooting forum Wednesday evening. “And then, I want parents, families, and especially our children to be confident when they go back to school in August that they know that their leaders are doing everything possible to keep them safe.”

Syracuse said while he doesn’t have high expectations for results from the special session of the legislature starting on Aug. 21 regarding gun laws, there are some things Nashville could start to do at a local level like providing gun locks and gun buyback programs.

“We’re not going to solve the world’s problems here at these three meetings, but this is a beginning – it’s a beginning of a formal conversation on how do we turn our grief into action.”