Metal detectors are not only being installed at Richneck Elementary School but also at other schools in the district, according to Newport News School Board Chair Lisa R. Surles-Law. The news comes a week after a 6-year-old student shot a Richneck teacher while she was instructing her class on January 6th.
“The 90 state-of-the-art metal detectors are going in each and every school in our district, and some of them will have more than one,” said Surles-Law. Their primary goal right now is to ‘get those students in the building,’ but only when it’s safe to do so. The elementary school has been closed since January 6th.
During a press conference on January 9th, Newport News Public Schools Superintendent George Parker hinted at the possibility of adding metal detectors. At the same time, he didn’t want to make his schools ‘look anything like a prison’ – adding that the incident will cause them to rethink how they handle things.
The incident occurred before 2 p.m. on January 6 – Newport News police officers received a call at 1:59 p.m. notifying authorities that a teacher had been shot. Police officers were on the scene within minutes and immediately entered the classroom where the shooting occurred – the 6-year-old became combative.
It didn’t take long before the officers took the student into custody and placed him in a police car. At that point, students were taken to the gymnasium, where they awaited their families – those that witnessed the incident were taken to the library. The students were reunited with their families after nearly three hours.
As for the teacher that was shot, she has been identified as 25-year-old Abigail Zwerner – better known as Miss Z to her class. The student ended up shooting her in the hand and chest. Medics arrived at Richneck Elementary School in minutes and she was immediately transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Over the past week, Zwerner’s condition has improved and she is now awake. Doctors expect her to recover from the injuries and will likely be back teaching once she feels ready. The community has been rallying behind her as she continues the road toward recovery – she has all the support she needs.
Richneck Elementary School Teacher Being Praised a Hero
Abigail Zwerner isn’t just being labeled a victim of the shooting, but she’s being hailed and praised as a hero for her brave and courageous actions in the face of danger. Despite suffering serious injuries from the gunshot wound, Miss Z had one thing on her mind in the heat of the moment – her class was full of children.
There were 16 to 20 children in the classroom at the time the gun was fired. With a gunshot wound in her hand and chest, she proceeded to direct each of her children out of the classroom and out of harm’s way. Only when her children were safe did she seek medical attention for her injuries – a true, living hero.
“I believe she did save lives because I don’t know what else might have happened if those kids would have stayed in that room,” said Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew during a news conference on Monday – adding that ‘she made sure that every one of those students was safe.’
The gun that was used by the student came from his home – it was legally purchased by his mother. While the child is unlikely to face any charges as a result of the incident, there’s still a chance his parents are charged. For now, we’re just hoping and praying for a swift and full recovery for Abigail Zwerner.
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