The real tragedy of the Nashville school shooting

I might be transsexual but I am also a teacher and I care far less about the misgendering of a perpetrator than I do about children being shot dead in their school

Three children and three staff have been shot dead at a school in the United States. The pupils who died at the Covenant School in Nashville were all just nine years old. The attacker was Audrey Hale, a 28-year old transgender ex-pupil, who was armed with three guns, including a semi-automatic rifle. Hale was shot dead by police during the incident yesterday morning.*

America’s tragedy is that such appalling incidents just keep happening. Only last week, a 17 year-old wounded two support staff at a high school in Denver; in February, three students were fatally shot at Michigan State University; in January, two teenagers were killed in a ‘targeted shooting’ at an educational institute in Des Moins.

But this latest atrocity in Tennessee has made headlines, even in the UK, amid speculation over Hale’s gender identity and whether it may have been a significant factor. Hale, who was born female, used the pronouns ‘he/him’ on a LinkedIn profile. Local police chief John Drake said ‘resentment’ at attending the school might have played a role in the attack. According to Drake, police ‘feel that she (Hale) identifies as trans, but we’re still in the initial investigation into all of that and if it actually played a role into this incident’.

Amidst plenty of speculation, the police must be given time to ascertain the facts of the case. But this is made harder, given the focus on which gender Hale identified as. Drake referred to Hale using female pronouns. Meanwhile, USA Today announced that ‘police on Monday afternoon said that the shooter was a transgender man. Officials had initially misidentified the gender of the shooter’.

Does this matter? I might be transsexual but I am also a teacher and I care far less about the misgendering of a perpetrator than I do about children being shot dead in their school. Schools are places of learning but they are also environments where children should feel safe, and be safe. But yesterday, three primary school pupils – in England they would be in Year 4 or Year 5 – went to school and never came home.

Police released their names as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney. These were two girls, and a boy, who had their lifetimes to look forward to. Now, they are dead. Killed alongside them were teacher Cynthia Peak, 61, headteacher Katherine Koonce, 60, and school caretaker Mike Hill, 61. They are the people we need to remember, along with their families who are left bereaved – and another school community that has to process such a dreadful atrocity.

Debbie Hayton is a teacher and journalist.

* This article was first published by The Spectator on 28 March 2023: The real tragedy of the Nashville school shooting.

By Debbie Hayton

Physics teacher and trade unionist.

3 replies on “The real tragedy of the Nashville school shooting”

You are absolutely right Debbie the lives lost are far more important than the gender of this mixed up individual but this was a very confusing report which illustrates another important point. We were told it was a woman named Audrey and then it was a trans man named Audrey but the press continued to refer to her as she. I wonder what sex she/ he will go down as in the crime statistics? I hear reports that our crime stats are now being affected by the apparent numbers of women who commit sex and violent crimes but who are actually trans women. If trans men who commit sex and violent crimes are also listed as women these statistics are going to become fairly meaningless and statistics are the only way we have to decide how to provide for our society in the future. Is this going to be another way to denigrate biological women?

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I have read several detransitioners (female to male) that after taking testosterone, they began to feel more aggressive, ‘horny’ and less emotional. This was long before this terrible slaughter of innocents occurred. Pumping testosterone into females is no guarantee of maleness, but it could guarantee a pseudo-masculine response to stress factors, the same ones that trigger violent males. There has not been any direct link made, but I think it is a fair enough assumption that a victim culture that is encouraged by the ‘trans’ lobby, plus testosterone, plus outside stresses and strains on mental health and you have a time bomb waiting to go off. The people who push this agenda need to be dragged out by the hair and made to pay for their crimes against children – those who are affirmed and ‘transitioned’ instead of being given proper therapy and those who are harmed as a result of this insanity. Males will always be less changed by the female hormones, as testosterone is always present in males and will dilute the female hormone, making them less aggressive, probably, but in no way comparable to the raised levels of aggression in females given testosterone. This was always going to happen, and we should expect more of this, sadly. If anything, it proves that males and females are inherently biologically different. Now, there’s a wonder.


I agree Lorncal. What arrogance to assume that we can safely mess around with the delicate balance of hormones for a person’s lifetime without any serious consequences to the individual and to society especially when you add guns to the mix.


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