WSMV4 reporter Joylyn Bukovac reflects on surviving school shooting

“I can’t even put into words what was going through my mind,” WSMV4′s Joylyn Bukovac said.
Joylyn Bukovac
Joylyn Bukovac(WSMV)
Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 11:35 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Monday was a shocking and heartbreaking day for so many in the Nashville community.

Three students and three adults were shot and killed at Covenant Presbyterian School, according to the Metro Nashville Police Department.

The shooting has left many parents wondering how they should talk with their children about the school shooting.

3 students, 3 adults, shooter dead after Nashville school shooting, police say

WSMV Reporter Joylyn Bukovac has a unique perspective on tragic events as a school shooting survivor. She was 13 years old and in the eighth grade in Madison, Alabama when she witnessed a shooting in the hallway.

“I can’t even put into words what was going through my mind,” Bukovac said about arriving at Covenant Presbyterian on Monday morning. “My heart broke for those families and at the same time my fight or flight response. Adrenaline was just pumping through my veins because I know what those kids were experiencing, unfortunately, and I know what it’s like to hide from a shooter.”

She described the shooting at her middle school as sounding like balloons popping. When she started hearing screams, she knew something was wrong and hid behind the bleachers in her music classroom.

“My stuff was part of the crime scene. I couldn’t even take my backpack home that day,” Bukovac said. “I really just felt like a sitting duck not knowing if I was going to make it out of that school alive. Which is awful because every child should feel safe at school. No one should come to school anticipating possibly getting hurt, injured or experiencing something like this.”

Bukovac said what happened to her made her want to become a news reporter. In this case, it’s also to share her perspective with parents and their children.

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She said it took two years to be able to talk about what happened to her, and she was diagnosed with PTSD while in college. Talking with parents and other witnesses outside Covenant Presbyterian School took her back to that day in 2010.

From her experience, she said it’s important to be patient talking with your children about the shooting even if they didn’t hear or see what happened Monday.

“Just tell them that you a here to talk when they are ready,” Bukovac said. “I think that is a big key, and don’t make them feel guilty about not wanting to talk.”