Former official at Virginia school where 6-year-old shot teacher indicted on child abuse charges

The former elementary school assistant principal in Virginia, where a 6-year-old student shot his teacher in the hand and chest, has been indicted by a grand jury on eight child abuse charges.

Ebony Parker, 39, was charged in the case on March 11, according to records that were unsealed on Tuesday, with child abuse and reckless disregard for human life, which is a class six felony.

The charges come after a 6-year-old brought a gun to Richneck Elementary School on Jan. 6, 2023, and shot his teacher, Abby Zwerner. Zwerner said she warned Parker about the student bringing a gun to school multiple times, but the administrator allegedly ignored the warnings.

FILE – Signs stand outside Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, on Jan. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Denise Lavoie, File)

Under Virginia law, a parent, guardian, or person responsible for the care of a minor who “willfully” or due to “willful omission” permits serious injury to the life and health of another minor and is “so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show reckless disregard for human life” is guilty of a Class 6 felony.  

Zwerner was hospitalized after the shooting for two weeks and had multiple surgeries on her hand and chest. She has also brought a $40 million lawsuit against the school over the incident.

Deja Taylor, the boy’s mother who owned the firearm, has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for using marijuana while owning a firearm. Taylor also lied about her drug use when purchasing the gun.

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The grand jury that indicted Parker is expected to release a detailed report on their findings on Wednesday, but it is not clear whether other officials will be charged. 

Parker has been listed as a “fugitive” in court records, according to documents obtained by the Virginian-Pilot. Prosecutors are recommending that Parker, who resigned weeks after the shooting, surrender her passport and be held on a $4,000 bond upon arrest.

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