Assistant principal resigns at Virginia school where student shot teacher Abigail Zwerner

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The assistant principal at the Virginia school where a 6-year-old shot his teacher has resigned as allegations surface the administration failed to respond when warned about the armed student three times on the day of the shooting, The Post has learned. 

Dr. Ebony Parker, the assistant principal at Richneck Elementary in Newport News, resigned, district spokesperson Michelle Price confirmed. Parker could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

First-grade teacher Abigail Zwerner, 25, was shot by her student on Jan. 6. Three school employees had warned the administration that the 6-year-old boy had a gun in the hours before the incident, Zwerner’s lawyer Diana Toscano said Wednesday.

One school administrator allegedly told a concerned teacher not to search the young boy for the gun, instead advising “to wait the situation out because the school day was almost over,” according to Toscano.

It is unconfirmed if Parker is the administrator who had given that advice or if she had been warned about the student.


Abigail Zwerner
Abigail Zwerner, 25, was shot by her 6-year-old student.

Dr. Ebony Parker
Dr. Ebony Parker, an assistant principal at Richneck Elementary in Newport News, resigned.
Facebook

The boy “intentionally” shot Zwerner around 2 p.m. that day, and the bullet traveled through her hand into her chest, police said. 

Toscano said the 25-year-old teacher had warned the school at 11:15 a.m. the boy threatened to beat up one of his peers.  

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

A Newport News administrator who asked to remain anonymous told The Post it’s clear Richneck Elementary leadership “failed to keep [Zwerner] safe” but questioned the resignation.


Richneck Elementary School
Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, where the shooting took place.
AP

“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.”

The boy who shot Zwerner used a gun his mother had purchased legally, police said. It’s unclear how he was able to get access to the weapon. Nobody has been charged in the incident, and the boy’s family said in a statement through the lawyer that he has an “acute disability.”


Police cars on school property
Police at the school after the shooting on Jan. 6, 2023.
ABC4

The Richneck shooting was the district’s third instance of gun violence in the past 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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