Are Nonchalant Adults Responsible For School Shootings?

by Kerry Dougherty 


For instance, the former assistant principal at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News — Ebony Parker — has been indicted on eight criminal charges in connection with the shooting of first grade teacher Abigail Zwerner in January 2023.

This stunning act of senseless violence put Newport News in headlines around the world. After all, it isn’t often that a 6-year-old carries a loaded gun to school and attempts to kill his teacher.

The mother of the shooter, Deja Taylor, is in prison. She’s serving 21 months on federal gun charges and two years on state charges of felony child neglect.

But there is plenty of blame to spread around in this shocking case.

School officials were warned repeatedly about this boy’s antisocial and dangerous behavior. Yet he remained in a classroom with normal kids. On the day of the shooting at least one child reported that the kid had a gun and school administrators failed to take the report seriously.
In fact, according to a civil suit filed by Ms. Zwerner, who is seeking $40 million in damages, the shooter was a persistent discipline problem. He’d been kicked out of kindergarten and sent to another school after he reportedly tried to strangle and choke his teacher.

On the day of the shooting, Zwerner reportedly told Parker that the child was in a “violent mood.”

Yet nothing was done.

When administrators were informed that the kid had a firearm and that he’d been seen taking something odd out of his backpack, that too was shrugged off.

Parker allegedly said something along the lines of: He has small pockets, according to court papers.

This allegedly nonchalant attitude toward the safety of students and teachers was almost deadly. Had the gun not jammed after the little monster fired the first shot, he might had gotten off seven more rounds.

Who knows how many people he might have killed.

A grand jury began meeting last year and handed down the indictments against Parker last month. Each count of child neglect carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison.

Similarly, in Michigan this week Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, who killed four classmates in a school shooting in November 2021, were sentenced to 10 to 15 years each for involuntary manslaughter.

They gave their 15-year-old mentally unstable son a handgun as an early Christmas present and he used it in a rampage that landed him in prison for life. While he was shooting his classmates his mother texted him, “Don’t do it.”


It isn’t often that adults are held criminally responsible for the violent actions of minors but in egregious cases such as the Crumbley’s or the Richneck Elementary School shooting, adult indifference to dangerous situations appeared to end in tragic results.

Prosecutors in the Richneck case didn’t prosecute the 6-year-old shooter; instead, they held responsible his drug-using mother who left a loaded handgun where her son could get it.

Now a grand jury has decided that the behavior of the assistant principal also contributed to the crime.

This is preferable to the usual hair-on-fire reaction to school shootings: passing laws that restrict the rights of lawful gun owners.

Republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed and Unedited.