Legal Action Taken Against Former Assistant Principal After 6-Year-Old Shoots Teacher

Legal Action Taken Against Former Assistant Principal After 6-Year-Old Shoots Teacher

Over a year after a 6-year-old boy shot his first-grade teacher in class with a gun, the former assistant principal of an elementary school in Virginia faces felony child negligence charges.

According to indictments made public on Tuesday, a special grand jury in Newport News concluded that Ebony Parker had recklessly disregarded the lives of pupils at Richneck Elementary School on January 6, 2023.

Abby Zwerner, the teacher who was wounded, has already filed a $40 million negligence claim against Parker and other school administrators. She charges that Parker and other people disregarded her repeated warnings that the youngster was armed and in a “violent mood” on the day of the killing.

Experts state that after a school shooting, criminal charges against school authorities are extremely uncommon. Parker, 39, is charged with eight felonies, each of which carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail.

Only the charges and a summary of the felony complaint are listed in court filings that were filed on Tuesday, providing scant information on Parker’s criminal case.

In the supervision of these pupils, Parker “did commit a willful act or omission in a manner so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life,” according to the allegation.

According to Newport News police, the student who shot Zwerner took his mother’s firearm off of a dresser at home and carried it into class hidden in a bag.

Parker was also asked by a guidance counselor to grant him permission to search the youngster, but the lawsuit said that Parker refused, saying that John Doe’s mother would be picking him up shortly.

When the boy pulled a gun, Zwerner was seated at a reading table in front of the class, according to the authorities. One of Zwerner’s lungs collapsed when the bullet hit her hand and subsequently her chest.

According to her lawsuit, she underwent many surgeries, spent almost two weeks in the hospital, and continues to suffer from emotional anguish.

Zwerner’s lawsuit has been attempted to be stopped by Parker and the other defendants in the case, which also include the Newport News school board and a former superintendent.

They contend that Zwerner’s injuries are covered by workers’ compensation legislation in Virginia. Thus yet, their arguments have not succeeded in stopping the litigation. Zwerner’s claim is scheduled for trial in January.

A year prior, prosecutors had said that they were looking into the possibility of filing criminal charges for any school personnel’s “actions or omissions.”

There have been previous school shootings that have prompted a criminal probe into school administrators. For example, a former school resource officer who was charged with concealing during the 2018 Parkland school tragedy was found not guilty of any of the charges last year.

Professor of educational law and policy at the University of Michigan-Flint Chuck Vergon told The Associated Press last year that charges of criminal negligence are tough to prove, which makes it uncommon for a teacher or other school administrator to be charged in a school shooting.