Times-Herald (Vallejo)

Shakeup as school where 6-year-old shot teacher

- By Denise Lavoie

The fallout from the shooting of a teacher by a 6-yearold student in Virginia has prompted a staff shakeup in the Newport News school district.

In addition to the firing of Superinten­dent Gary Parker this week, the principal and assistant principal of Richneck Elementary School have left their jobs. A longtime principal in the school district has been named to lead the school as it prepares to reopen next week.

The shooting by a firstgrade boy Jan. 6 stunned Newport News, a city of about 185,000 located 70 miles southeast of Richmond, and has reverberat­ed around the country, raising questions about school security and how a child so young gained access to a gun and was able to fire it at his teacher.

Diane Toscano, a lawyer for wounded teacher Abby Zwerner, said this week that on the day of the shooting, concerned staff at Richneck warned administra­tors three times that the boy had a gun and was threatenin­g other students, but the administra­tion didn't call police, remove the boy from class or lock down the school.

Parker, who took the brunt of criticism from outraged parents and teachers and was fired by the school board this week, has said that at least one administra­tor at the school received a tip that the boy may have brought a weapon to school. Parker said the boy's backpack was searched, but no weapon was found.

Principal Briana Foster Newton is no longer listed as the principal on the school's website. Michelle Price, a spokespers­on for the school district, said Newton is still employed by the district, but she did not say what position Newton now holds.

Assistant Principal Ebony Parker has resigned from the school division, Price said.

Karen Lynch, who has worked as a principal in Newport News for 17 years, is listed as the school's administra­tor. In a letter to Richneck families this week, Lynch said she was working “on special assignment” at Richneck.

Zwerner, 25, was hospitaliz­ed for nearly two weeks but is recovering at home. Toscano said she notified the school board that Zwerner intends to sue the school district.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States