Assistant principal ignored warnings that 6-year-old boy had gun before he shot teacher, report says | World News - Hindustan Times

Assistant principal ignored warnings that 6-year-old boy had gun before he shot teacher, report says

AP |
Apr 11, 2024 02:22 AM IST

Assistant principal ignored warnings that 6-year-old boy had gun before he shot teacher, report says

NORFOLK, Va. — A former assistant principal at a Virginia elementary school dismissed several warnings from teachers and students that a 6-year-old had a gun in the hours before he shot his teacher, according to a grand jury report released Wednesday.

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“The child was not searched,” the report stated. “The child was not removed from class. The police or SRO was not called.”

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The report was relaesed a day after the former administrator, Ebony Parker, was charged with eight counts of felony child neglect, one for “each of the eight bullets that endangered all the students,” Newport News prosecutors said in a statement.

The 31-page report offers fresh details about the January 2023 shooting and serious wounding of teacher Abby Zwerner, which occurred after the boy brought his mother's gun to school in a backpack.

It also provides a granular accounting of each time the special grand jury said Parker disregarded concerns, including an account from a teacher who spoke to a “visibly scared and shaking" child who said he saw bullets from the boy's 9mm handgun during recess.

A counselor, Rolonzo Rawles, then told Parker the same story, according to the report.

“Mr. Rawls, now the third person and fourth time this message had been relayed, went back to Dr. Parker and communicated that the child either had a gun or ammunition at least,” it said

Parker refused to let the boy be searched after his backpack was searched, the report said, describing the child sitting as his desk with "a loaded firearm tucked into his jacket"

“Ms. Zwerner was then left alone with 16 first-grade students in her class that day, of which one had been reported by three different students over the course of two hours to have a firearm,” it added.

Parker, 39, posted $4,000 in secured bail Wednesday and did not yet have an attorney listed for her, the Newport News Circuit Court clerk's office said.

She and other school officials already face a $40 million negligence lawsuit from Zwerner, who accuses Parker and others of ignoring multiple warnings that the boy had a gun and was in a “violent mood” the day of the shooting.

Zwerner was sitting at a reading table in front of the class when the boy fired the gun, police said. The bullet struck Zwerner’s hand and then her chest, collapsing one of her lungs. She spent nearly two weeks in the hospital and has endured multiple surgeries as well as ongoing emotional trauma, according to her lawsuit.

Parker and the lawsuit’s other defendants, which include a former superintendent and the Newport News school board, have tried to block the lawsuit, arguing that Zwerner’s injuries fall under Virginia’s workers’ compensation law.

Those efforts have been unsuccessful so far, however, and a trial is scheduled for January.

Prosecutors said a year ago that they were investigating whether the “actions or omissions” of any school employees could lead to criminal charges.

Howard Gwynn, the commonwealth’s attorney in Newport News, said in April 2023 that he had petitioned a special grand jury to probe if any “security failures” contributed to the shooting. Gwynn wrote that an investigation could also lead to recommendations “in the hopes that such a situation never occurs again.”

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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