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Newport News Firing School Superintendent After Teacher Shot

School officials in the Virginia school system where a first-grade teacher was shot as she delivered a lesson are expected to part ways with the district’s superintendent. The school board in Newport News, which met in a closed session Tuesday evening, scheduled a vote for Wednesday on a separation agreement with Superintendent George Parker III, reports the Washington Post. The sudden leadership change follows a shooting Jan. 6 at Richneck Elementary School, where a 6-year-old allegedly fired on teacher Abigail Zwerner with a gun police said he brought from home in his backpack. At a school board meeting last week, parents called for the firing of Parker, citing systemic problems that eroded school safety across the 27,000-student district. Many said his plan to install metal detectors at schools was entirely inadequate. The Jan. 6 incident stunned educators and parents across the U.S. The bullet passed through Zwerner’s raised hand and into her chest. She was severely wounded but survived and is recovering.


Before the shooting, school officials had been alerted the 6-year-old might have a gun. When they searched his backpack, they did not find one, Parker said. Since then, parents have questioned why the school had not notified law enforcement about the report that a student might have a gun and how a 6-year-old managed to hide it. Administrators were found to have downplayed educators’ warnings about the boy’s behavior, including a threat he made against another teacher. Parker, who took the helm as superintendent in 2018, previously served as superintendent of Caroline County Public Schools in Virginia and assistant superintendent of secondary schools in Virginia Beach City Public Schools. He started as an educator in 1993, after four years in the Navy.

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