Former assistant principal charged with child neglect in case of 6-year-old boy who shot teacher


NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — A former assistant principal at a Virginia elementary school has been indicted on eight felony counts of child neglect in the case of a 6-year-old boy who shot and wounded his first-grade teacher in Newport News, Virginia, last year.

A special grand jury found that Ebony Parker showed a reckless disregard for the lives of Richneck Elementary School students on Jan. 6, 2023, according to indictments unsealed Tuesday in Newport News Circuit Court.

Each of the charges is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Parker was working the day the 6-year-old fired a single shot at his teacher, Abigail Zwerner, during a reading class. Zwerner has filed a $40 million lawsuit alleging that Parker ignored several warnings that the boy had a gun in school that day. Zwerner was seriously hurt in the shooting, but has recovered.

In the lawsuit, Zwerner’s lawyers describe a series of warnings that school employees gave administrators in the hours before the shooting, beginning with Zwerner, who went to Parker’s office and told her the boy “was in a violent mood,” had threatened to beat up a kindergartener and stared down a security officer in the lunchroom. The lawsuit alleges that Parker “had no response, refusing even to look up at (Zwerner) when she expressed her concerns.”

The lawsuit also alleges that a reading specialist told Parker that the boy had told students he had a gun. Parker responded that his “pockets were too small to hold a handgun and did nothing,” the lawsuit states.

The indictments allege that Parker “did commit a willful act or omission in the care of such students, in a manner so gross, wanton and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life.”

The Associated Press left a message seeking comment Tuesday with Parker’s attorney, Curtis Rogers.

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