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Nashville Reporter Was School Shooting Survivor Herself

The scene Monday was familiar to Joylyn Bukovac. The television reporter arrived near the Covenant School in Nashville, where a shooter had opened fire, killing three 9-year-old students and three adults, including the head of school. Bukovac watched as ambulances rushed past. She saw parents running, children in their arms.

“This is something that hits very close to home for me,” Bukovac, 27, said in a WSMV4 segment, reports the Washington Post. “Many of you might not know this, but I’m actually a school shooting survivor.” In 2010, she had been in the hallway of Discovery Middle School in Madison, Ala., when a 14-year-old classmate was shot and killed. At the time, Bukovac was in eighth grade. She was standing in the hallway, giggling and talking with friends during a break between classes when she heard a “pop” that she thought had come from a balloon.

She didn’t think anything of it until screams erupted. “He’s been shot! He’s been shot!” she recalled students yelling. “It was just chaos,” Bukovac said. “I just knew I had to get away. And I also wanted to talk to my family. I wanted to tell them that I love them.”

She fumbled with her cellphone to try calling her mother. She didn’t get an answer before her teacher took the students’ phones, turning them off so as not to draw attention to the classroom. When the students were able to leave the building, Bukovac recalled running into her mother’s arms on the sidewalk outside the school. “I really had no words for her,” Bukovac said. “We just locked eyes, and we cried.” Bukovac was hesitant to recount that experience as she reported on the shooting at Covenant. She didn’t want to make the story about herself, when it was about “this issue that’s plaguing our country,” she said. Bukovac hoped speaking about her experience would help show that those watching were not alone. “If I could just help one family or one person by sharing my story, then it was worth it,” she said.


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