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The Washington Post

Newport Information faculty board set to launch superintendent after Richneck taking pictures


College officers within the Virginia faculty system the place a first-grade trainer was not too long ago shot as she delivered a lesson are anticipated to half methods with the district’s superintendent.

The college board in Newport Information, which met in a closed session Tuesday night, scheduled a vote for Wednesday on a separation settlement with Superintendent George Parker III. The board can be slated to determine on the appointment of an interim superintendent.

The sudden management change follows a taking pictures Jan. 6 at Richneck Elementary College, the place a 6-year-old allegedly fired on trainer Abigail Zwerner with a gun police mentioned he introduced from residence in his backpack.

At a college board assembly final week, dad and mom known as for the firing of Parker, citing systemic issues that eroded faculty security throughout the district. Many mentioned his plan to put in metallic detectors at colleges was completely insufficient. Some raised their voices in anger, whereas others testified in tears.

The Jan. 6 incident surprised educators and oldsters throughout the nation — a first-grader accused in what authorities mentioned was the intentional taking pictures of his classroom trainer. The bullet handed via Zwerner’s raised hand and into her chest. She was severely wounded however survived and is recovering.

Earlier than the taking pictures, faculty officers had been alerted the 6-year-old might need a gun. However after they searched his backpack, they didn’t discover one, Parker has mentioned. Since then, dad and mom have questioned why the college had not notified legislation enforcement concerning the report {that a} pupil might need a gun and the way a 6-year-old managed to cover it. Directors have been additionally discovered to have downplayed educators’ warnings concerning the boy’s conduct, together with a menace he made towards one other trainer, based on messages from academics obtained by The Washington Put up.

Parker, who took the helm as superintendent in Newport Information in 2018, beforehand served as superintendent of Caroline County Public Faculties in Virginia and assistant superintendent of secondary colleges in Virginia Seaside Metropolis Public Faculties, based on the district’s website. He began as an educator in 1993, after 4 years within the Navy.

Following the taking pictures, the household of the first-grader expressed sympathy for the educator and mentioned their son suffers from an “acute” incapacity. An lawyer for the household, James Ellenson, mentioned the gun had been saved on a high shelf within the mom’s bed room closet and he was uncertain how the boy managed to take away a set off lock that forestalls the gun from firing. Ellenson has mentioned the kid was underneath psychiatric care at a facility.

Authorities are nonetheless investigating the incident.

Additionally on Tuesday, faculty officers mentioned Richneck Elementary will reopen for courses Jan. 30, greater than three weeks after the incident. College dad and mom and kids are welcome to go to the campus Wednesday throughout two hours of actions which might be supposed to start the transition again to every day instruction.

“We respect your endurance as we plan to return studying to Richneck,” wrote Karen Lynch, an administrator on particular task to the college, in an update on the school’s website.

College system officers declined to touch upon whether or not Richneck’s principal would return to the college.

Michelle Value, a college system spokeswoman, mentioned Tuesday that safety officers employed by the district would help college students and workers on the faculty, together with a state-of-the-art metallic detector system.

She mentioned classroom doorways have been put in in areas that lacked them, and different doorways within the constructing have been repaired or changed

An lawyer for Zwerner is predicted to make her first public remarks on the incident at a Wednesday information convention. Lawyer Diane Toscano will give an replace on the trainer, present new details about the taking pictures and talk about the subsequent steps for the educator, based on a press launch.

The violence “shook each mama in all the metropolis,” Colleen Renthrope, a mom of two whose kids attend a unique elementary faculty within the district, mentioned on Tuesday. “We already needed to cope with Uvalde, Texas. … The potential is there on your little one to be in one among these conditions.”

Renthrope mentioned she hoped psychological well being providers could be obtainable for youngsters as they returned. “I feel they’re going to have a number of very shocked and traumatized college students,” she mentioned. “I hope they’re ready to cope with it in probably the most wholesome and accountable methods.”

Justin Jouvenal and Laura Meckler contributed to this report.

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