After Boy, 6, Shoots Teacher, Superintendent Shown the Door

School board votes to remove him effective Feb. 1
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 25, 2023 11:07 AM CST
Updated Jan 26, 2023 12:04 AM CST
Virginia Teacher Shot by 6-Year-Old to Sue District
Messages of support for teacher Abby Zwerner, who was shot by a 6-year-old student, grace the front door of Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, on Jan. 9.   (AP Photo/John C. Clark, File)
UPDATE Jan 26, 2023 12:04 AM CST

Shortly after news broke that the Virginia teacher shot by a 6-year-old student would sue the school district, it was reported that the superintendent of that district will be replaced. The Newport News School Board on Wednesday voted 5-1 to remove George Parker III as superintendent effective Feb. 1, NBC News reports. The school board president stressed that Parker is a "capable" leader who is being removed without cause after five years of service, simply because that's the best move for the "future trajectory and needs of our school division." The interim superintendent, also chosen in a 5-1 vote, will be Michele Mitchell, executive director of student advancement for Newport News Public Schools, WAVY reports.

Jan 25, 2023 11:07 AM CST

A Virginia teacher who was shot by a 6-year-old student during class will sue the school district, the teacher's attorney announced Wednesday. Diane Toscano, a lawyer for Abigail Zwerner, said Wednesday that on the day of the shooting, concerned teachers and employees warned administrators three times that the boy had a gun on him and was threatening other students, "but the administration could not be bothered," per the AP. Superintendent George Parker III has said that at least one administrator was told on the day of the shooting that the boy might have had a weapon, but no weapon was found when his backpack was searched.

Police have said school officials didn't tell them about that tip before the shooting, which happened hours later. A source tells NBC News that an hour before the shooting, Zwerner texted a "loved one" saying the child said he had a gun in his backpack and that administrators weren't taking action. Per the source, the text "showed her frustration." The boy shot Zwerner, 25, on Jan. 6 as she taught class at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News. Police Chief Steve Drew has characterized the shooting as "intentional," saying the boy aimed at Zwerner and fired one round, striking her in the hand and chest. Zwerner was hospitalized for nearly two weeks but is now recovering at home.

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The boy's mother legally purchased the gun used in the shooting, police said. The family's attorney told the AP that his understanding was that the gun was in the woman’s closet on a shelf well over 6 feet high and had a trigger lock that required a key. The family described the boy as having an "acute disability" and being under a care plan "that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day." The week of the shooting was the first when a parent was not in class with him, the family said. The Newport News School Board will hold a special meeting Wednesday evening to vote on a separation agreement and severance package for Parker, according to a posted agenda.

(More school shooting stories.)

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