Ebony Parker: Virginia school's assistant principal quits after 6-yr-old shot his teacher Abigail Zwerner

Ebony Parker: Virginia school's assistant principal quits after 6-yr-old shot his teacher Abigail Zwerner
Dr Ebony Parker the assistant principal at Richneck Elementary in Newport News, resigned after Abigail Zwerner (inset) was shot by a first-grader (Abby Zwerner/Facebook, Dr Ebony Parker/Facebook)

NEWPORT, VIRGINIA: The assistant principal of a Virginia school has resigned after a 6-year-old shot and killed his teacher. Following allegations that school officials failed to respond three times on the day of the murder after being notified about the armed student. Dr Ebony Parker, assistant principal at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, has resigned, according to district spokesman Michelle Price.

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On January 6, first-grader Abigail Zwerner, 25, was shot and killed by a student at Richneck Elementary School in Newport. After being shot in the chest in her classroom, Zwerner, 25, was released from the hospital last week. Zwerner's attorney, Diana Toscano, said Wednesday, January 25, that the incident was "entirely preventable." She went on to say that Zwerner is suing the school district and that three school employees had informed administrators about the child's weapon in the hours before the tragedy, MSN reports.

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Toscano claimed that at 11:15 a.m., the 25-year-old teacher had informed the school that the child had threatened to assault one of his classmates. One school supervisor allegedly told a concerned teacher not to search the young child for the gun, instead advising "to wait the situation out because the school day was almost over," according to Toscano. According to authorities, Zwerner was "intentionally" shot at approximately 2 p.m. on January 6; the bullet entered her chest through her hand.

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"Abby Zwerner was shot in front of those horrified children, and the school and community are living the nightmare, all because the school administration failed to act," Toscano said, adding that district authorities "could not be bothered" to act.

However, whether Parker is the administrator who gave that counsel or whether she was forewarned about the student is unknown. Parker is the first school official who has publicly announced his resignation since the shooting. The Newport News school district, however, had a special meeting on Wednesday, January 25, night when they decided to terminate Superintendent Dr. George Parker III with effect from February 1 and replace him with his deputy.

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A Newport News administrator who requested anonymity told The New York Post that Richneck Elementary leadership "failed to keep [Zwerner] safe," but questioned the resignation. “As an administrator it is our first priority to keep the students and staff safe, any and every threat must be taken seriously,” the administrator said. “However, the forced resignation of one of the administrators from Richneck does not resolve the failure of the district as a whole to put procedures in place to prevent this from happening again.”

According to investigators, the youngster who shot Zwerner used a gun that his mother had lawfully purchased. It's not apparent how he managed to obtain the firearm. The boy's family stated through the attorney that he had a "acute disability" in a statement, and no one has been charged in connection with the incident. 

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The Richneck shooting was the third occurrence of gun violence in the district in the last year and a half. “Nothing, from additional trainings to getting more security equipment at the school level, has changed in response to these shootings,” the unnamed administrator told The Post. “I am honestly tired of going to school stressed, hoping this isn’t the day something happens at my school.”

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