- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 26, 2023

An attorney for the Virginia teacher who police say was intentionally shot by a 6-year-old pupil announced a forthcoming lawsuit against the school system Wednesday, the same day a school administrator resigned and the school board removed its superintendent.

The Newport News school board voted 5-1 to depose George Parker as its superintendent during its meeting, according to CNN. Ebony Parker, the assistant principal at Richneck Elementary School, resigned hours earlier.

Their exits came as Diane Toscano, an attorney for first-grade teacher Abby Zwerner, claimed the school administration ignored repeated warnings about the pupil being armed prior to the shooting on Jan. 6. 

“Over the course of a few hours, three different times — three times — school administration was warned by concerned teachers and employees that the boy had a gun on him at the school and was threatening people,” Ms. Toscano said. “But the administration could not be bothered.” 

The first of those warnings came from Ms. Zwerner herself around 11:30 a.m. when the accused student threatened to beat up another child. Despite this, the student was allowed to remain in class. 

Ms. Toscano said that an hour later another teacher told the Richneck administration she searched for the gun in the boy’s backpack and believed he put it in his pocket before going outside for recess. 

SEE ALSO: Family of boy, 6, who shot Virginia teacher says gun was ‘secured,’ child has disability

The attorney said the administrator downplayed the teacher’s concerns about the boy having the gun by saying the pupil had “little pockets.” 

Administrators were warned a third time when a pupil revealed to teachers that the accused first-grade shooter showed the pupil the gun at recess and threatened to shoot if he was told on, Ms. Toscano said. 

A fourth teacher requested to search the boy as well, but was denied by administrators because the school day was almost over. 

Newport News police said the boy pulled the gun from his person and fired a single shot at Ms. Zwerner around 2 p.m. later that day, causing the bullet to travel through her hand and into her upper chest. 

“All because the school administration failed to act,” Ms. Toscano said. “Were they not so paralyzed by apathy, they could have prevented this tragedy.” 

Ms. Toscano said the bullet is still lodged inside the teacher, who was discharged from the hospital last week. 

The boy, who has not been identified, was held at a hospital for treatment and was taken into state custody. 

Police said the boy took the gun from his home. The firearm was registered to his mother. 

His parents released a statement through their attorney last week saying the firearm was secured inside their house. 

They said the boy “suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day.” 

The week of the shooting was the first time neither parent was with him in class. 

“We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives,” the statement said. 

The parents also said they are praying for Ms. Zwerner “in the aftermath of such an unimaginable tragedy as she selflessly served our son and the children in the school.”

• Matt Delaney can be reached at mdelaney@washingtontimes.com.

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