District Learns Lesson

Teacher learning to cope

A Newport News, VA teacher has filed a $40 million lawsuit against her previous employer, Richneck Elementary School.  Specifically, the teacher has named defendants, including the Newport News School Board, the superintendent of schools, principal, and assistant principal.  According to the educator, who is seeking a jury trial in the case, claims that despite the multiple warnings and suspicions provided to her superiors, she was placed in imminent danger in her position at the school.  One of her minor elementary school students shot her, causing subsequent pain and anguish.

The January 6 shooting, which involved a 9 mm handgun, took place at the teacher’s reading table, and even after sustaining a wound to the hand and chest, she still managed to place the safety of her students first and escort them out of a potentially escalated situation.  The elementary educator contends that she issued more than one report that a firearm was most likely on campus and within the possession of an individual, a minor under the age of 10, who exhibited previous behaviors of random violence.  Students corroborated the teacher’s statements and provided reports that they physically saw the gun.  Since the shooting, the school has implemented metal detectors and has employed a full-time security guard.

In addition, while the school board voted to remove the superintendent, the principal was transferred to a different position within the same district, and the assistant principal resigned.  The principal claims that on the day of the shooting, she was not informed that a firearm was likely on campus.  In the months following the incident, the mother of the student who fired the weapon was charged with felony child neglect and one count of recklessly leaving a loaded firearm that may endanger a child.  According to the investigation, the mother of the child has been cooperative; and the child will not receive charges related to the shooting.