Former Assistant Principal Charged After Shooting Incident

Former Assistant Principal Charged After Shooting Incident

( – The case of the Crumbleys just made national headlines after a court tried and convicted the parents of school shooter Ethan Crumbley on involuntary manslaughter because they ignored signs their son needed help. It was the first time a US court had held parents accountable for their child’s actions in such a crime. Now, another case out of Newport News, Virginia, is in the spotlight because prosecutors have charged a former school administrator in connection with a school shooting.

On January 6, 2023, a 6-year-old student at Richneck Elementary School fired a gun at his first-grade teacher, Abby Zwerner. He reportedly tried to shoot her a second time, but the gun jammed. Prosecutors never charged the child with the crime because of his young age. However, his mother, Deja Taylor, pleaded guilty to felony child neglect for storing the gun incorrectly, allowing her son to get his hands on it. A court sentenced her to two years in prison for the infraction. She had received an earlier sentence for making false statements about drug use and using marijuana while owning a gun.

Yet, prosecutors didn’t stop there. They have now charged Ebony Parker, the former assistant principal at the elementary school, with eight counts of child abuse and neglect. The district attorney indicted her last month but only recently unsealed the records. In a press release, the Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said the indictment included “one count for each of the eight bullets that endangered all the students.”

Prosecutors accuse the former assistant principal of ignoring several warnings that the child might have had a gun. She reportedly dismissed the complaints as impossible because his pockets were small. When a school counselor asked Parker to search the child an hour before the shooting, she allegedly refused. Questions also arose regarding the whereabouts of the child’s disciplinary records because both copies — one that should have been in the main office and the other in Zwerner’s classroom — went missing. Authorities began to suspect a coverup.

According to Stanford Law School professor John J. Donohue III, the practice of going after parents and administrators is a “new avenue” prosecutors are exploring as they come to the realization “that there are individuals who could and should intervene to stop gun violence and have not in the past.”

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