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Asst. principal charged with child abuse in case of 6-year-old shooter

According to court documents, the charges against the Virginia school administrator were filed on March 11, and she is currently listed as a fugitive.
Posted at 1:24 PM, Apr 10, 2024

Former Richneck Elementary School Assistant Principal Ebony Parker has been charged with eight counts of felony child abuse and disregard for life in connection to a 6-year-old who shot his teacher, Abby Zwerner, in 2023. 

According to court documents, the charges against Parker were filed on March 11, and she is currently listed as a fugitive. 

On Jan. 6, 2023, a first grader shot his teacher in the hand and chest in the middle of the school day in Newport News, Virginia.

Zwerner is suing Newport News Public Schools for $40 million over claims of negligence by school administrators, and Parker was named directly in the suit. 

The lawsuit says that Zwerner and multiple other staff members at Richneck Elementary warned staff the day of the shooting about the child's behavior, including Parker. 

The lawsuit alleges Parker ignored several warnings that the student, who had violently attacked students at the school and tried to choke a teacher, had a weapon the day of the shooting. 

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Parker would not allow the boy to be searched, insisting "his pockets were too small to hold a handgun," according to the lawsuit.

Parker resigned shortly after the lawsuit was announced.

In response to the charges, Zwerner's attorneys Diane Toscano, Kevin Biniazan and Jeffrey Breit sent a statement to Scripps News Norfolk.

“These charges are very serious and underscore the failure of the school district to act to prevent the tragic shooting of Abby Zwerner," the statement reads. "The school board continues to deny their responsibility to Abby, and this indictment is just another brick in the wall of mounting failures and gross negligence in their case.”

Additionally, Scripps News Norfolk reached out to the Newport News School Board attorneys for a comment about the charges against Parker. They said they had no comment since she was represented by separate counsel. 

This article was originally published by Heather Eckstein for Scripps News Norfolk.