by Kerry Dougherty

Excuse my language, but what the hell is going on at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News?

On Saturday, The Washington Post reported that school administrators there have downplayed threats of violence, apparently ignoring pleas for help from frightened teachers.

One account claims that the same boy who shot and nearly killed his teacher two weeks ago threatened another teacher saying he wanted to set her on fire and watch her burn.

The Post story is crammed with horrifying accounts of violent outbursts by an out-of-control child allegedly terrorizing his fellow students and teachers.

If true, there needs to be a wholesale shake-up in that school and this bleeding heart nonsense needs to STOP.

School officials must explain why they allow students who have threatened violence against teachers to remain in the classroom. Then they need to tell us why THEY deserve to keep their jobs.

Here’s a question for Richneck school leaders: Is there anything they WON’T tolerate at that dysfunctional elementary school, where a substitute teacher told The Post that the kids were so frightening that after one day she refused to go back to that particular school?

Let’s back up for those who have already forgotten what happened earlier this month.

A little more than two weeks ago, on January 6, a 6-year-old boy at Richneck shot his teacher with a 9 mm handgun. Abigail Zwerner was taken to the hospital and listed in critical condition with a gunshot wound through her hand and chest.

It was a shooting so audacious and vicious by such a young perpetrator that it made international headlines.

So far school officials have been tight-lipped about the shooting and prosecutors have yet to bring charges.

But teachers — many begging for anonymity because they’re under an administration-imposed gag order and they fear retribution if they’re honest with the press — filled in many of the blanks for The Post.

According to numerous accounts, this child is extremely troubled. In a statement last week his parents said the following:

The boy’s family said in a statement Thursday, the first public remarks his relatives have given about the shooting, that the 6-year-old was “under a care plan” that “included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day.” That stopped the week of the shooting, the statement said.

“We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives,” the statement read.

I repeat, what the hell?

Richneck actually had a first grader whose problems were so severe that he couldn’t go to class without either his mommy or daddy present? On the first week they weren’t with him he shot and nearly killed a teacher?

How does that happen?

At this point, the kid’s privacy should take a backseat to the public’s right to know. School officials need to outline what sort of unacceptable behavior they’re willing to tolerate in the classroom.

This might be written off as an aberration until you remember that in September of 2021 a student at Heritage High School in Newport News brought a gun to school and shot two classmates.

That kid had already pleaded guilty to shooting someone else and was deemed so dangerous by the courts that he was fitted with an ankle bracelet so they could track him 24/7. Yet he was allowed to come to school every day and mingle with ordinary decent kids.

We covered the case in the fall of 2021 and got some heat for saying that any teen who’s dangerous enough to be electronically monitored by the courts should be kept far away from regular school classrooms.

The safety of schoolchildren trumps the rights of bad kids to secure an education.

The perpetrator from Heritage is now serving a 10-year “blended sentence.” Until he reaches 18 he’ll be housed in juvenile detention. He’ll be moved to a state pen when he reached adulthood.

Did I mention he had to shoot two classmates before getting booted from school?

Maybe the question we all ought to be asking is this one: what the hell is going on in Newport News Public Schools?

This column was first published in Kerry: Unemployed and Unedited and is republished with permission.


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Comments

55 responses to “Chilling Revelations In The Saga Of The 6-Year-Old Teacher Shooter”

  1. Nuf said…… but equity at any cost requires all to be at risk.

    1. James McCarthy Avatar
      James McCarthy

      OTOH, the absence of equity equally endangers all. Perhaps, as with equality under law, equity requires consistent attention.

      1. You can’t have equity and equality before the law. Equity requires you to treat people unequally, excusing the tardiness or violence of some and hiding the awards etc of others.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          “excusing violence while hiding awards”.

          yes, wrong.

    2. LarrytheG Avatar

      ought not be an either/or proposition though.

  2. Kathleen Smith Avatar
    Kathleen Smith

    IDEA law rules.

  3. Teddy007 Avatar

    For high schools, the obvious answer is to make them voluntary so that those who want to rebel against society can do it elsewhere. For 6 year olds, the issue is how can society keep them out of school the rest of their life.

  4. VaNavVet Avatar

    Maybe Kerry could take a drive and substitute for a day in one of the schools. We would all appreciate her actual hands on journalism.

    1. Maybe Kerry could take a drive and substitute for a day in one of the schools.

      Why? I did not see any criticism of a teachers in her article. She seems to understand how dangerous it is for them to teach under adverse conditions which are being tolerated by the school administration.

      1. VaNavVet Avatar

        So she could see first hand what the conditions are in these schools and thus be better informed.

      2. VaNavVet Avatar

        Listen to Kerry weekday mornings on the radio and you will hear that she mostly calls prominent Dems names and casts derogatory comments at them. All things that would get deleted here but that is how she rolls.

        1. I based my comment on the contents of the article she posted here.

    2. killerhertz Avatar
      killerhertz

      Do your comments always reek of logical fallacies?

      1. VaNavVet Avatar

        No!

  5. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: ” Kudos to The Washington Post ”

    Wow! What does this say about Conservative media reporting?

  6. Matt Adams Avatar
    Matt Adams

    “At this point, the kid’s privacy should take a backseat to the public’s right to know. School officials need to outline what sort of unacceptable behavior they’re willing to tolerate in the classroom.”

    Right’s to privacy are never trumped, it’s also a minor.

    What you should be concerned with are the school administration who failed the teacher and the student.

    1. killerhertz Avatar
      killerhertz

      Your right to privacy is revoked when you attempt to murder nay?

      1. Matt Adams Avatar
        Matt Adams

        No, a right to privacy is never revoked, regardless of being charged with a crime. Only at at time when someone is convicted is that right, removed and only for the duration of their sentence. We have a presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law.

        1. killerhertz Avatar
          killerhertz

          I was implying that arrest records are public and this child should have been arrested.

          The only way other parents could have gotten to the truth and acted to preserve the safety of their children is via this fact. The lack of transparency was pure politics.

          1. Matt Adams Avatar
            Matt Adams

            “I was implying that arrest records are public and this child should have been arrested.”

            Minors “arrests” are never public.

            “The only way other parents could have gotten to the truth and acted to preserve the safety of their children is via this fact. The lack of transparency was pure politics.”

            False.

          2. killerhertz Avatar
            killerhertz

            ORLY. Kyle Rittenhouse was a minor. I guess the laws didn’t apply to him.

          3. Matt Adams Avatar
            Matt Adams

            “killerhertz 8 minutes ago
            ORLY. Kyle Rittenhouse was a minor. I guess the laws didn’t apply to him.”

            17 is a whole lost different than 6, and has nothing to do with this.

          4. killerhertz Avatar
            killerhertz

            Since you’re making a legal argument. What’s the legal difference between 17 and 6?

            And you’re right. One minor was defending himself and the other tried to murder their teacher.

          5. Matt Adams Avatar
            Matt Adams

            “killerhertz 5 minutes ago
            Since you’re making a legal argument. What’s the legal difference between 17 and 6?

            And you’re right. One minor was defending himself and the other tried to murder their teacher.”

            In Illinois at age 17 you’re considering an adult for criminal charges.

            At no state are you considering an adult for criminal charges at 6.

            “And you’re right. One minor was defending himself and the other tried to murder their teacher.”

            No, they are not related you only think they are. You’re not going to prove your point, Rittenhouse was legally allowed to defend himself, he however placed himself in that situation. I know the difference, clearly you do not.

  7. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    Notice the question Kerry refuses to ask here…? How did a 6 year old child with the emotional disturbance this one had get hold of a hand gun… now THAT is something the public has a right to know…!!

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      … in a two-parent family that “secured” the gun… yes… something is amiss here on that part also…

    2. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
      James Wyatt Whitehead

      Missed another question. How can you search a student backpack and not find a handgun? Did the staff performing the search have a learning disability too?

      1. how_it_works Avatar
        how_it_works

        And why didn’t they take that kid down to the main office, sit him down and call the parents and ask how the child could have gotten a handgun if they couldn’t find it?

        1. Toriessian Avatar
          Toriessian

          I agree with the last 4 comments. We should really be asking without mixing words, “Why did everyone let a 6 year old go shoot his teacher?”

          This really goes beyond laws or politics. If we’re just going to let armed kids shoot their teachers, the laws and politics involved really don’t matter.

  8. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    It seems that we are forgetting that this is a 6 year old. Likely the premise the school was working under when figuring out how to address his aggressive behavior was that he would not have access to a handgun. I guess that educators in the US just can’t assume such thing anymore.

    1. how_it_works Avatar
      how_it_works

      I did a Google search and there’s a number of reports of children bringing guns to school. Usually they are caught before anyone gets hurt.

      It’s not like this is a novel situation which has never happened before.

      1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        How many 6 year olds out of all the kids in school…? But point made, 6 year olds are armed in the US…

        1. how_it_works Avatar
          how_it_works

          I found a report of a 4-year-old bringing a gun to school!

    2. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Uh, just to refresh, Sandy Hook shooter’s mom did what for a living, exactly?

      1. Lefty665 Avatar

        By giving her psychotic kid access to a gun
        she did precisely the wrong thing for living. The tragedy is that her profound idiocy affected so many others. Darwin awards are ineffective after someone has polluted the gene pool.

  9. Teddy007 Avatar

    What is really scary are the right-wing types who say the solution is more playground time and let him run around more but never use medication.

    1. Names, please.

      1. Teddy007 Avatar

        Took me 15 second to find the first article. https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2017/04/181_219672.html that states: The best way to “cure” so-called ADHD and other conditions such as being “learning disabled” is to get the students outside on the playground early in the day and let them run around for a couple of hours. Let them play basketball and softball, soccer, volleyball and tetherball, help them plant and tend gardens on the school grounds, even let them rake leaves, shovel snow or help the janitor cut the grass and pull weeds — anything to get them moving vigorously.

        1. Lefty665 Avatar

          The “Korea Times” is your authoritative source. Really?

          1. Teddy007 Avatar

            Every cite I find it going to be some anti-ritalin type who says the same thing. I am not saying it is correct. I am saying that it is a fairly common belief.

          2. Lefty665 Avatar

            And support for your characterization that it is “right wing types” who are anti Ritalin is? “Fairly common belief” may have some substance, but that it is a political opinion, not so much.

          3. But not just among “right-wing types”.

  10. energyNOW_Fan Avatar
    energyNOW_Fan

    The sensitivities here start to explain the slow drip of truth coming out. Also the questionable lack of charges to the parents apparently helps keeping the family confidential. Virginia Way = limited right to know

    1. how_it_works Avatar
      how_it_works

      I’ve heard it said that the reason Florida Man is such a thing is that Florida’s sunshine laws mandate access to records, making sure that Florida Man’s escapades make the news.

      Perhaps Virginia Man is just as bad as Florida Man but Virginia’s moonshine laws prevent anyone from knowing?

    2. how_it_works Avatar
      how_it_works

      I’ve heard it said that the reason Florida Man is such a thing is that Florida’s sunshine laws mandate access to records, making sure that Florida Man’s escapades make the news.

      Perhaps Virginia Man is just as bad as Florida Man but Virginia’s moonshine laws prevent anyone from knowing?

  11. I had a “special needs” kid in northern Virginia say something like this.

    One day he told me he wanted to cut my “fucking head off.” (He actually usually liked me, but he did not like being told “No.”)

    He was a violent 2nd grader who had been mainstreamed into the county science magnet school. Because equity I imagine. It was actually a school with no racial majority – lots of Asians, and lots of foreign born children from the middle east and Africa and the Caribbean. But they were all kids of immigrants or embassy staff. Not many American born African Americans and other non-Asian POC. So the system mainstreamed – I believe – in disabled and behavior problem kids (of color mainly), thinking it would improve their diversity stats. I’ve seen this happen in many schools – a MIPA (the program acronym) class of autistic or other disabled kids who have almost no interaction with the other children, aside from lunch or playground, though they are at the same school.

    They hired me for 3 months – and begged me to stay permanently which I could not do since it just doesn’t pay enough – because this kid had assaulted the assistant principal and the next step under a law would I believe be to pay to send him to an expensive private school for juvenile criminals, since he is “owed” a mandatory education by the taxpayer.

    This was before Covid. After Covid I went back by and asked a teacher I’d worked with what had happened to him. She said he disappeared from online classes and then never came back.

    The teachers whose classes he was in were very excited when I reported his days activities including the “threat.” That meant under county rules he got an extra session or two each week with the school shrink, which meant for an hour he was her problem not theirs.

    1. killerhertz Avatar
      killerhertz

      Joke’s on the educators. The kid is probably making more money than them slinging fent.

  12. It appears that the school is no more capable of or willing to deal with the consequences of its actions than the 6 yr old is.

  13. Has anyone seen an explanation of why the parents were not in school with the child as required?

    1. Matt Adams Avatar
      Matt Adams

      “Has anyone seen an explanation of why the parents were not in school with the child as required?”

      Were they required to be there or were they being used to supplement the special education department.

      1. The statement from the family’s lawyer said, “…the family stated that the 6-year-old suffers from an “acute disability” and was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every

        day.” https://www.wavy.com/news/local-news/newport-news/family-of-6-year-old-accused-of-shooting-teacher-issues-statement/

        whro changed that to read allowed saying that he “was under a care plan with Richneck Elementary School that allowed one of his parents to attend class with him every day.”
        https://whro.org/news/local-news/35324-family-of-6-year-old-who-shot-newport-newport-teacher-releases-first-statement

        1. Matt Adams Avatar
          Matt Adams

          So the parents were part of the care plan, if they were unable to attend with the child the special education department should provide a resource. They did not, so that’s not really an effective care plan.

  14. killerhertz Avatar
    killerhertz

    This was entirely predictable (by me). See the prior article on this thread for receipts. Without a doubt if this was some redneck white kid the family would have been doxed and mugshots provided months ago.

  15. energyNOW_Fan Avatar
    energyNOW_Fan

    Earlier thread I postulated Virginia officials in general resist giving out info (on police matters, COVID etc). Lack of transparency to protect officials or to protect whomever. And I also postulated that the media sometimes must have the facts, but they collaborate with the secrecy officials are trying to attain.

    In this case, what is different is that it is national news, so the media has less motivation to conspire with the lack of transparency Virginia officials would like to otherwise maintain.

  16. LarrytheG Avatar

    This case probably will be submerged by other horrible “news”. And the hits, they just keep on coming………….

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