Richneck Elementary school

Former Virginia Elementary School Assistant Principal Faces Eight Felony Charges After Teacher Shot By 6-Year-Old 

This could have been avoided....

A former Virginia elementary school assistant principal faces eight felony counts after a 6-year-old student brought a gun to school and shot his teacher in 2023. 

On Mar. 11, Ebony Parker, former assistant principal at Richneck Elementary in Newport News, was indicted and charged with child abuse and disregard for life by a Special Grand Jury. Court documents labeled Parker as “responsible for the care of students at Richneck Elementary” and committed “a willful act or omission in the care of such students, in a manner so gross, wanton and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life.” 

In Virginia, each felony count holds a sentence of up to five years in prison.

The Special Grand Jury released the 31-page report into the shooting that occurred on Jan. 6, 2023. According to WAVY, the legal team of Abby Zwerner – the teacher shot by the minor – released a statement saying they are “grateful” for the work of the special jury.

“The grand jury report reveals a systemic failure that led to the shooting of Abby Zwerner. Most shocking is the apparent cover-up of disciplinary records before and after the shooting,” attorneys Diane Toscano, Kevin Biniazan and Jeffrey Breit wrote. 

“We are grateful for the work of the special grand jury and the answers they have provided this community.”

In a $40 million lawsuit against the school board and administrators filed in 2023, lawyers claim the shooting could have been avoided with proper intervention from the school and administrators, including Parker. In March 2023, it was confirmed that the lawsuit was scheduled for trial. 

Toscano alleged that teachers and employees gave notice to administrators three times on the day of the shooting, raising concerns that the student had a gun and was issuing threats to people. Parker is accused of failing to call 911, putting the school on lockdown, or having a security guard on duty.

“These charges are very serious and underscore the failure of the school district to act to prevent the tragic shooting of Abby Zwerner,” Toscano, Biniazan and Breit wrote in a statement. 

“The school board continues to deny their responsibility to Abby, and this indictment is just another brick in the wall of mounting failures and gross negligence in their case.”

Zwerner was shot while reading to her class. She survived her injuries and was released from the hospital weeks after the shooting. Parker resigned from her assistant principal position 19 days after the teacher was shot.

Several families of Richneck students have filed lawsuits, each seeking $3 million in damages. According to their attorney, Emily Mapp Brannon, Parker’s charges suggest that there is evidence the students were placed in grave danger by the people put in place to protect them.

“I remain optimistic that our criminal justice system will provide answers to the Richneck community,” Brannon said. “For the first time in over a year, the families may find comfort in knowing that the administration is being held accountable.”