A Virginia superintendent has come under fire for three school shootings in 18 months


Newport News school board members are preparing to vote on firing the superintendent after three shootings in the district in the past 18 months.

The Daily Press, a daily newspaper in Hampton Roads, Va., announced Tuesday’s surprise school board meeting after two weeks of closed-door meetings on the matter.

Newport News Superintendent of Schools George Parker talks about security measures in the city’s schools during a news conference at the Newport News School Administration Building, Newport News, Va., Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. Virginia Police Chief: A 6-year-old student fired a handgun at Richneck Elementary School on Friday, Jan. 6, wounding a Virginia first-grade teacher as she was teaching in her classroom.
((AP Photo/John Clark))

Newport News School District Superintendent George Parker III has been involved in a number of shootings, the latest on Jan. 6, when a 6-year-old boy shot his first-grade teacher, Abigail Zwerner.

A Virginia school downloaded a teacher’s warning before a 6-year-old boy was shot.

Zwerner, 25, expressed concern about the boy’s behavior and asked the school for help, including threatening to burn the teacher and see him die.

Instead of taking action, the problem went away, according to reports from fellow teachers obtained by The Washington Post.

Police responded to a shooting at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News on Friday, January 6.
(Billy Schuerman/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)

Zwerner was teaching first grade at Richneck Elementary School when the boy pulled out a 9 mm handgun that belonged to his mother and shot her, first in the arm she was holding in a defensive position and then in the upper chest.


The teacher is now in a stable condition and has been praised for getting each of his students out of the classroom to safety despite being shot. Another school staff member entered the classroom and physically restrained the child.

Parker said after the shooting, the school was notified that the boy had a gun that day, but after a search of his school bag, the gun was not found.

The shooting earlier this month, as well as the 2021 shootings at Heritage and Menchville high schools, have outraged teachers, parents and community members.

According to the Daily Press, dozens of teachers and parents spoke out against the administration and called for Parker to be fired at a board meeting last week.


Wednesday’s meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., and school board members will vote on the separation agreement as well as a severance package for the superintendent.

Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.

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