Covenant School thanks Green Hills woman who sheltered fleeing kindergartners after shooting

The mother of three said she was acting on instincts when she let the class enter her home.
The Covenant School students thanks the woman who sheltered fleeing kindergartners after the shooting at the school in March.
Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 6:43 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Lilly Hearn was getting ready to run an errand on the morning of March 27 when the sounds of sirens and rushing first responders gridlocked Hillsboro Pike.

There had been a shooting at the nearby Covenant School.

The next thing Hearn saw was a group of young children and a teacher running away from the school and out onto Hillsboro Pike. She opened up the gate to her subdivision and called them inside to safety. She then opened up her home, providing a safe haven to 20 kindergartners who’d just survived a school shooting.

A mother to three young children, Heard said she was just acting on instincts.

“Something about it just made me hone in,” Hearn said. “We turned on the two TVs, Zootopia and Sonic the Hedgehog, and [the TV volumes] were up all the way, but that drowned out any noise from the sirens and any outside activity.”

Heard said some of the children were cut and had bruises, so she provided Band-Aids, and just tried to distract them as best she could. The children spent about an hour inside her home before they were reunited with their parents.

“I feel like I wish I could have done more, and all the families, kids, everybody from Covenant has expressed their gratitude, just being in the right place at the right time,” Hearn said.

Hearn has thought about those children every day since. This week, many of the children and their families returned to Hearn’s home to thank her. It’s part of The Covenant School’s gratitude campaign called “1,000 Thank Yous.”

“We got to interact in a solely positive way which I think was good for everybody,” Hearn said. “I consider it an honor, [the Covenant community] is resilient, and I think for a community to experience something so drastic and horrible, to have the amount of benevolence and appreciation that is ongoing, it’s not like two weeks after you forget about it and move on, that is something admirable.”

Hearn said she will always have a special bond with the children who she helped provide shelter to after the shooting.

“It’s comforting to know that they can now express thanks with a smile rather than tears and sorrow and kind of fear,” Hearn said.