Authorities are exploring possible criminal charges against a former assistant principal who has been accused of ignoring warnings that a 6-year-old boy had a gun before he shot a teacher at Virginia’s Richneck Elementary School in January. Investigators have been scrutinizing the actions of Ebony Parker, an assistant principal who resigned after the shooting, for months, the Washington Post reports. The probe probably will be taken over by a special grand jury, which Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard E. Gwynn petitioned to have empaneled to investigate “any actions or omissions” by any current or former employee of Newport News schools that contributed to the shooting.
The charge that Parker might face was not immediately clear. Experts said prosecuting a school administrator in connection with failures related to a shooting at a school would be unusual and possibly unprecedented, even in an era when gun violence has become a grim recurrence on campuses nationwide. The teacher who was shot, Abigail Zwerner, accused Parker, along with former Richneck principal Briana Foster-Newton and former Newport News schools superintendent George Parker III, of gross negligence in failing to prevent the Jan. 6 shooting. Zwerner contends in a lawsuit that Ebony Parker was warned on at least three occasions by teachers and other school employees that the boy had a gun on the day of the shooting, and that she told the assistant principal herself the boy was in a “violent mood” and had threatened to beat up a kindergartner. David Riedman, the founder of the K-12 School Shooting Database, could not recall another high-profile school shooting case where a school administrator had been charged for failing to prevent a shooting.