New Safety Protocols at Virginia School

New Safety Protocols at Virginia School

New safety protocols are in place at Richneck Elementary School, nearly a few weeks after a six-year-old student shot a teacher. 

An email was sent out to families informing of strict security and Karen Lynch stepping in as the new administrator. The Newport school board sees the protocol as a way to “assist with the transition.”

One of the procedures include the students receiving clear backpacks upon arrival to school. Every kid will walk through a metal detector and will be viable for search. 

Lynch sees the reopening as a “special assignment”. The physical additions are important to the safety of the students, but Lynch is making sure students are provided emotional support services to students, families, and staff. That includes the availability of licensed therapists, support specialists, and social workers on duty. 

Michelle Price, a spokesperson for the school district, speaks about the new changes. Alongside new security staff, new doors and infrastructure are installed into the classrooms. The principal and assistant principal during the shooting resigned following the aftermath. 

Since the incident, the school board has discussed ways to handle repercussions, but the school continues to face backlash from parents and community. Details within the shooting reveals how warnings were communicated by staff that morning.

Diane Toscano, the lawyer to Ms. Zwerner, says on the day of the shooting, Richneck staff warned administrators three times that the student had a gun. Administration did nothing to mitigate the situation. 

Investigator police Steve Drew says the child took the handgun from home. Released statements from the family entails the boy “suffers from an acute disability” and that the gun was secure on the top shelf in a closet. Part of his disability care is in coordination with the school, and that includes on his parents attending class with him. When the incident happened, neither one of the parents was present in the classroom. The parents regret the decision of not being there on that day. Their biggest concern is making sure their son receives treatment.

Featured Image by Billy Scheurman/The Virginia-Pilot/AP

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