The vice principal of the Virginia school where a 6-year-old shot his teacher has resigned as allegations surface and the administration failed to respond when notified of the gun-toting student. three times on the day of the shooting, The Post has learned.
Dr. Ebony Parker, vice principal of Richneck Elementary at Newport News, has resigned, district spokeswoman Michelle Price confirmed. Parker could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
First-grade teacher Abigail Zwerner, 25, was shot dead by her student on January 6. Three school employees had tipped off administration that the 6-year-old boy had a gun in the hours before the incident, Zwerner’s attorney Diana Toscano said Wednesday. .
A school administrator allegedly told a concerned teacher not to look for the gun on the young boy, instead advising him “to wait for the situation to end because the school day was almost over”, according to Toscano.
It is unconfirmed whether Parker was the administrator who had given this advice or whether she had been tipped off about the student.
The boy “intentionally” shot Zwerner around 2 p.m. that day, and the bullet passed through his hand in his chest, police said.
Toscano said the 25-year-old teacher warned the school at 11:15 a.m. that the boy was threatening to beat up one of his classmates.
“Abby Zwerner was shot in front of these horrified children, and the school and the community are in a nightmare, all because the school administration failed to act,” Toscano said, adding that district leaders “couldn’t not be disturbed” to act.
A Newport News administrator who asked to remain anonymous told the Post that it was clear that management at Richneck Elementary “failed to keep [Zwerner] sure,” but questioned the resignation.
“As an administrator, our first priority is to keep students and staff safe, any threat should be taken seriously,” the administrator said.
“However, the forced resignation of one of Richneck’s directors does not address the failure of the district as a whole to put procedures in place to prevent this from happening again.”
The boy who shot Zwerner used a gun his mother purchased legally, police said. It is unclear how he gained access to the weapon. No one has been charged in the incident, and the boy’s family said in a statement through the lawyer that he suffered from an “acute disability”.
The Richneck shooting was the third instance of gun violence in the district in the past year and a half.
“Nothing from additional training to getting more school-level safety equipment has changed in response to these shootings,” the anonymous administrator told the Post.
“Honestly, I’m tired of going to school stressed, hoping it’s not the day when something happens at my school.”