The shooting of a teacher by a six-year-old student in Virginia has caused significant leadership and staff changes in the school district. Following the Jan. 6 killing of Abigail Zwerner, 25, by one of her own students, the Newport News School Board voted 5-1 to remove Superintendent George Parker III from his job.
Teachers, parents, and community members are angered by the shooting earlier this month, as well as the shootings at Heritage and Menchville high schools in 2021. The child brought his mother’s gun to Richneck Elementary School and shot Zwerner during a lesson. Zwerner spent two weeks in the hospital and is currently recovering at home.
Briana Foster Newton, the principal, and Ebony Parker, the assistant principal, have both departed the school. A school district representative stated that Newton remained employed by the district, but did not specify in what capacity, and Parker resigned from the school system, as per Fox News.
The staff move followed word that Zwerner intends to sue the school system over the incident. Zwerner’s lawyer, Diana Toscano, stated that worried teachers and staff had notified administrators three times that the boy had a pistol on him and was threatening other students, but “the administration could not be bothered.”
The 9mm gun used in the shooting was legally acquired by the boy’s mother, according to police, and the gun was “secured” in the mother’s closet on a shelf well over six feet high, with a trigger lock that needed a key.
The family also stated that the youngster had an “acute disability” that required one of his parents to take him to school every day. It was the first time a parent was not present during the shooting.
Students, families, and staff have received emotional support services from the district’s student support specialists, school social workers, or professional therapists. Karen Lynch, the school’s new administrator, stated in a letter to families that those services will continue when students return to school.