District reassigns principal of Virginia school where boy, 6, allegedly shot teacher, spokesperson says

Jan 30, 2023, 6:30 AM

NEWPORT NEWS, VA - JANUARY 07: Tall pine trees outside Richneck Elementary School on January 7, 202...

NEWPORT NEWS, VA - JANUARY 07: Tall pine trees outside Richneck Elementary School on January 7, 2023 in Newport News, Virginia. A 6-year-old student is in custody following a shooting involving a female teacher, who was shot in the chest, is in critical condition according to police reports. (Photo by Jay Paul/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jay Paul/Getty Images)

Originally Published: 29 JAN 23 18:54 ET
Updated: 29 JAN 23 20:48 ET

    (CNN) — The principal of Richneck Elementary School in Virginia has been reassigned within Newport News Public Schools, according to a spokesperson for the district.

In an email to CNN confirming the reassignment, the district would not say where it was reassigning former principal Briana Foster Newton.

School and district leadership have come under fire in the weeks since a first grader allegedly shot a teacher inside a Richneck classroom on January 6, with students there slated to resume classes for the first time since the incident on Monday.

Related: 6-year-old in custody after shooting teacher in Virginia, police chief says

The school on Sunday announced new protocols ahead of the students’ return.

Last week, a lawyer representing injured teacher Abby Zwerner, 25, said school administrators were warned that the child had a gun the day of the shooting. The school board also voted out superintendent George Parker III, whose last day is scheduled for Wednesday. Richneck Assistant Principal Ebony Parker has also resigned from her position following the shooting.

“At the time of the shooting incident on January 6, Briana Foster Newton served as the principal of Richneck Elementary and Dr. Ebony Parker served as the assistant principal. Briana Foster Newton is still employed with Newport News Public Schools. Dr. Ebony Parker resigned. That is all that I can share at this time,” the district told CNN Sunday.

Karen Lynch will serve as the administrator on special assignment “leading the Richneck team and coordinating the students’ return to instruction,” the district said.

According to the district, Lynch is an “Extended Learning Supervisor and experienced elementary school principal.”

The district said support services provided since the shooting will continue on site as students return on Monday.

The district told CNN it is permanently adding two school division security officers as well as two “state-of-the-art” metal detectors at Richneck.

As Police Chief Steve Drew has said, “no School Resource Officers have been assigned to Richneck. In addition, doors have been installed in classroom areas without one, and others have been repaired or replaced,” the district told CNN.

The district, citing ongoing investigations, would not comment “regarding what occurred in the office following the shooting incident.”

Following the announcement of her appointment Sunday, administrator Lynch sent an email to students’ families highlighting new protocols for the first day of full instruction.

The email states that parents should expect a police presence on campus ready to “assist with the transition.”

Lynch encouraged families to send their children to school using “their typical mode of transportation to school and home” and asked that families send their children to school without a book bag as the school will provide them with clear book bags for use on Monday.

Related: 16-year-old shot dead in Piute County, 17-year-old suspect in custody

If students bring lunch items to school, those items will be run through a metal detection unit and are subject to search, the email reads.

The school will be limiting visitors in the school leading during this first week of instruction to allow “staff the opportunity to establish routines and procedures with students,” according to the email. Parents are not allowed to enter classrooms and those who chose to walk their children to class must show identification and are also subject to search, it added.

The school also shared an Amazon Wish List of emotional support items that teachers had requested for students to aid in the healing process in a post on the school’s Facebook account Sunday evening.

Richneck Elementary has been closed since the shooting, and some parents have expressed their concern ahead of classes resuming. Mark Garcia Sr. told CNN last week that his son is in the same class as the student accused of shooting Zwerner and has been distraught since the shooting.

“This is a scary situation, my son is still scared,” Garcia told CNN. “He wants to go back to school, but he just wants to know that he’s gonna to be safe, and that’s the biggest thing.”

The school’s alleged failure to act is “horrifying,” Garcia said, adding, “The people who know about this failed us and they failed the security measures of everyone that’s inside of that school.”

The shooting occurred after an altercation between Zwerner and the student, who pointed the gun at her and fired a single round, Police Chief Drew said at the time.

Zwerner was critically injured when a bullet passed through one of her hands and struck her chest, police have said. The teacher has since been released from hospital.

On January 25, Zwerner’s attorney announced she was filing a lawsuit against the school district.

“Over the course of a few hours, three different times — three times — school administration was warned by concerned teachers and employees that the boy had a gun on him at the school and was threatening people,” attorney Diane Toscano told reporters.

Toscano said the administration “failed to act” despite having “knowledge of imminent danger.”

After the shooting, the boy was placed under temporary detention order and was evaluated at a local hospital. He remains unidentified publicly, but his family has been releasing statements through their attorney.

On January 19, the family said the boy has an “acute disability” and was receiving care at the school. A family member usually went to class with him, but not the week of the shooting, they said.

“We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives,” the family statement said.

According to the family, the gun allegedly used was secured before the shooting.

The police chief has indicated the boy’s mother could possibly face charges in the shooting.

Related: Parents face possible liability when it comes to guns and children

Under Virginia law, it is a misdemeanor for an adult to leave a loaded, unsecured firearm in such a way that it could endanger a child under the age of 14. It is prohibited for a person to unknowingly allow a child under the age of 12 to use a firearm.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


This composite image shows former President Donald Trump (center), Stormy Daniels (top left), Micha...

Kaanita Iyer, CNN

Here are the key players in Trump’s hush money trial

Originally Published: 15 APR 24 07:00 ET Updated: 21 APR 24 20:26 ET (CNN) — Opening statements in Donald Trump’s criminal New York hush money trial are set to begin Monday, more than a year after the former president was indicted in the case. The trial, which made its way swiftly through jury selection last week, is expected […]

8 hours ago

Student activists have spent multiple days occupying the lawns at Columbia University, calling for ...

Celina Tebor and Zoe Sottile, CNN

Rabbi associated with Columbia University recommends Jewish students ‘return home’ amid tense protests on campus

A rabbi recommended that Jewish students “return home as soon as possible and remain home” amid ongoing protests.

12 hours ago

The New Horizons spacecraft took an image of Pluto's heart on July 14, 2015....

Ashley Strickland, CNN

Pluto gained a ‘heart’ after colliding with a planetary body

Researchers think they have solved the mystery of how Pluto's distinctive heart came to be. It could reveal new clues about its origins.

2 days ago

Iranian news agency FARS, citing local sources, reports multiple explosions were heard northwest of...

Hamdi Alkhshali and Artemis Moshtaghian, CNN

Israel has carried out a strike inside Iran, US official tells CNN

(CNN) — Israel has carried out a strike inside Iran, a US official told CNN, a move that threatens to push the region deeper into conflict. The target is not nuclear, the official said. Iran’s air defense systems were activated in several locations after three explosions were heard close to the airport and an army […]

3 days ago

A clear plastic cup from Starbucks features new black and white fill lines....

Jordan Valinsky, CNN

Starbucks plastic cups are getting a makeover

Starbucks has announced an environmentally friendly redesign of its plastic cups.

4 days ago

The nearly complete giant jawbone is shown along with the jawbone (middle and bottom) found by Paul...

Ashley Strickland, CNN

Fossil discovery by 11-year-old is the largest known marine reptile, study says

A jawbone found on a beach along the English coast belonged to a newfound species that’s likely the largest known marine reptile.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

District reassigns principal of Virginia school where boy, 6, allegedly shot teacher, spokesperson says