The Newport News School Board on Wednesday voted to replace its embattled superintendent amid the continuing fallout from a 6-year-old boy shooting his first-grade teacher this month.
The board voted 5-1 to remove George Parker III as the head of the district of about 26,500 students.
The move for dismissal was prompted by the community of teachers and parents who called for Parker’s resignation or firing.
According to police, 25-year-old Abigail Zwerner was teaching her first-grade class at Richneck Elementary School when she got shot by a student on January 6.
Police Chief Steve Drew has described the shooting as “intentional,” adding that the boy had the gun “on his person,” and fired one rround. Zwerner was struck in her hand and in her chest.
After the shooting, Zwerner spent nearly two weeks in the hospital before being released.
“It is important that we state that this decision was made without cause,” Board Chair Lisa Surles-Law said after the vote.
“Parker was a capable division leader who has served Newport News for nearly five years through some extremely challenging circumstances. This decision is based on the future trajectory and needs of our school division.”
Board Chair Lisa Surles-Law said
The community outrage began after Parker revealed that at least one administrator had been notified that the boy may have had a weapon on the day of the shooting.
The student’s backpack was searched, and although no weapon was uncovered, police were not informed of the tip. The incident occurred hours later.
In addition, it was argued during the meeting that the shooting could have been prevented.