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When Richneck Elementary students will return to classrooms

Posted at 11:06 PM, Jan 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-28 00:23:25-05

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Newport News school officials confirmed that Richneck Elementary School students will return to the classroom on Monday, Jan. 30.

Richneck Elementary has been closed since the day of the shooting where police say a 6-year-old student shot his teacher, which police have described as “intentional".

Abby Zwerner, the first-grade teacher who was shot in a classroom earlier this month, was released from the hospital last week, according to Riverside Regional Medical Center.

Zwerner has been praised for her heroic actions in keeping her students safe after she was shot. She made sure all her students made it out of the classroom, Newport News Chief of Police Steve Drew said, and was the last person to leave her classroom before making her way to the administration office.

Zwerner put up her hand in a defensive position when the gun fired, and the bullet went through her hand and into her upper chest, Drew said.

A GoFundMe account was created to support her medical costs and has raised thousands of dollars.

The family of a 6-year-old boy who Newport News police say shot and wounded his teacher at Richneck Elementary School, said Thursday that the gun he used had been “secured".

The family's statement was released by an attorney and did not elaborate further on where the 9mm handgun was kept. The family also was not identified.

Since the shooting, the Newport News Public School Board has discussed a number of measures to improve safety within schools. Earlier this month, the school board announced that it will buy metal detectors to be put in all of its schools as soon as possible.

However, the measure to add metal detectors has drawn scrutiny from some community members who say this step isn't enough to protect students, teachers and other staff members within schools.

Amanda D'onofrio has a child at another Newport News elementary school and attended a press conference held by the school board earlier this month. She said she was frustrated that the shooting happened. She is one of many parents in the area who are pleading for the school district to step up their safety.

"I think we're really tired of thoughts and prayers and what we want are the thoughts to be actions," she said.

The school board acknowledged the concerns of parents at the January meeting, saying their top priority is to keep students safe.

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