It’s been revealed that the three 9-year-old students who died in the mass shooting at a Nashville Christian school had spent the morning in the Chapel memorising the words to Amazing Grace.
Missionary Britney Grayson, a paediatric doctor based in Kenya, had been giving a talk to a group of children.
Shortly after the tragedy she posted on social media: “Just four hours ago, we arrived at The Covenant School in Nashville. Our dear friends invited us to speak at Chapel and stay and visit their girls’ classrooms. The kids were great. We taught them about life in Kenya, some Swahili words, and what it means to be a missionary.”
Dr. Grayson regretted leaving the school just moments before the attack: “There are no words for this feeling. I think the normal feeling is supposed to be relief — relief that we were already gone and our lives are safe. But to do what I do makes me literally one of the most qualified people on the planet to help in that situation. Why had we driven away just minutes before? Could I have helped those children if we were still there? I feel guilty for being safe.”
She urged her followers to pray for those impacted, adding: “Pray for the doctors, nurses, and surgeons caring for them right now. Pray for all the little hearts that weren’t physically wounded but who will never be the same. Pray. Pray. PRAY.”
The missionary doctor posted an image of the schoolchildren listening to her talk an hour before shooter Audrey Hale broke into the school.
Dr. Grayson explained that the students were learning “all the verses of Amazing Grace to sing for Grandparents’ Day next week.”
One of the child victims Hallie Scruggs was the daughter of Chad Scruggs, the senior pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church and former pastor at Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas.
Members of Park Cities flew to Nashville to offer comfort to the Scruggs family, who have three other children, as they grieve.
Head teacher Katherine Koonce is also being mourned.
One school parent told BBC News that Ms. Koonce was a “saint” who “did so much for those kids.”
“She knew every single student by name. She did everything to help them when families couldn’t afford things, it didn’t matter. She found ways for them to stay.”
On the school’s website, Ms. Koonce had written that the school is “about more than simply educating our students. It helps children become who God intends them to be.”
“Our graduates attend the finest schools in the Nashville area, where they not only excel academically, but also act with character that comes from authentic faith in Jesus,” she wrote.
A GoFundMe page has raised more than half a million dollars for the family of school custodian Mike Hill who left seven children and 14 grandkids.
His family says ‘Big Mike’ was “beloved” by the staff and students at the school where he had worked for 14 years.
CBN News reports that 28-year-old former student at the school Audrey Hale who identified as a man, was under a doctor’s care for an emotional disorder, but somehow managed to legally purchase seven firearms, three of which were used in the rampage.
The shooting has brought the issue of security at private schools to the forefront as many assumed these schools were safer.
“I don’t think any one of us are immune to the inevitable violence that is just permeating our society,” Dr. Larry Taylor, President of the Association of Christian Schools International told CBN’s Faith Nation.
“I think the research shows that there are fewer incidents in Christian schools,” he added, saying he did not believe schools need armed security.