Heartbreaking News! Child Neglect Charges for Ex-Assistant Principal in 6-Year-Old's Shooting of Teacher

Heartbreaking News! Child Neglect Charges for Ex-Assistant Principal in 6-Year-Old’s Shooting of Teacher

NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia – After a 6-year-old kid shot his first-grade teacher with a revolver in class more than a year ago, the former assistant administrator of an elementary school in Virginia faces felony child negligence charges.

Indictments unsealed on Tuesday reveal that a special grand jury in Newport News concluded that Ebony Parker recklessly disregarded the life of Richneck Elementary School kids on January 6, 2023.

The teacher who was shot, Abby Zwerner, has already filed a $40 million negligence claim against Parker and other school administrators. She charges Parker and others with disobeying her repeated warnings that the youngster was armed and in a “violent mood” on the day of the massacre.

Experts say it is uncommon to bring criminal charges against school administrators after a school shooting. With eight felonies against him, Parker, 39, could spend up to five years in jail for each offense.

With Parker’s lawyer, Curtis Rogers, the Associated Press left a message on Tuesday, requesting a statement.

A description of the felony charge and the counts are the only details provided in court filings filed on Tuesday, providing scant insight into Parker’s criminal case. It claims that Parker “did commit a willful act or omission in the care of such students, in a way that was so egregious, so wanton, and so culpable as to demonstrate a reckless disregard for human life.”

Heartbreaking News! Child Neglect Charges for Ex-Assistant Principal in 6-Year-Old's Shooting of Teacher (1)

The youngster who shot Zwerner, according to Newport News police, took his mother’s pistol from atop a dresser at home and carried it to school hidden in a backpack.

Before the incident, school staff members warned administrators on several occasions, according to Zwerner’s lawsuit. Parker was informed by Zwerner that the youngster “was in a violent mood,” had threatened to beat up a kindergartener, and had glared down a security guard in the lunchroom, according to the lawsuit.

Zwerner communicated her worries, and according to the lawsuit, Parker “had no response, refusing even to look up.”

Parker stated in the lawsuit that his “pockets were too small to hold a handgun and did nothing” in response to worries that the boy might have moved the gun from his bag into his pocket.

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The lawsuit claimed that Parker refused to give in to the guidance counselor’s request to search the youngster, telling him that John Doe’s mother would be picking him up shortly.

According to authorities, the child shot the gun while Zwerner was seated at a reading table in front of the class. A lung collapsed as a result of the bullet hitting Zwerner’s hand and subsequently her chest. She was hospitalized for about two weeks, had several operations, and continued emotional trauma, according to her lawsuit.

A former superintendent and the Newport News school board are among the other defendants in the complaint with Parker who has attempted to thwart Zwerner’s legal action.

They contend that Zwerner is entitled to workers’ compensation under Virginia law. Up until now, their attempts to stop the lawsuit have been fruitless. January is the scheduled trial month for Zwerner’s lawsuit.

The “actions or omissions” of any school workers may result in criminal charges, according to prosecutors’ statement from a year ago.

A special grand jury was called in by the commonwealth’s attorney in Newport News, Howard Gwynn, to investigate whether any “security failures” played a role in the shooting incident. This was announced in April 2023. A report from Gwynn could also include suggestions for how to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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There has been a criminal probe of school authorities before, following other school shootings. One example is the ex-school resource officer who was charged with concealing after the Parkland school tragedy in 2018 but was cleared of all charges last year.

In an interview with The Associated Press last year, Chuck Vergon, an educational law and policy professor at the University of Michigan-Flint, stated that it is uncommon for a teacher or other school employee to face charges related to a school shooting because it can be challenging to show criminal negligence.

He claimed that victims of school shootings typically pursue civil lawsuits against school administrators.

From Richmond, Virginia, Lavoie reported.

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