NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The Newport News School Board announced Thursday that funds have been repurposed to install metal detectors in schools across the district following the Richneck Elementary School shooting.
During a press conference Thursday, Newport News School Board Chair, Lisa R. Surles-Law said that as of Wednesday, NNPS has repurposed funding for 90 metal detectors to be installed in all schools in the district.
Surles-Law said that walk-thru metal detectors will be put in place and used for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors from school arrival until dismissal. The board also has requested that Richneck Elementary School’s metal detectors be installed first.
Division leadership has been directed by the school board to review and strengthen the protocols for addressing and handling violence in school to ensure that teachers and staff are safe and well informed.
Surles-Law also said that district-wide teacher work days will be implemented in the coming weeks. These work days will consist of round-table discussions where teachers and staff in each building will meet to gather feedback for improving safety throughout school buildings.
The school board will then receive feedback from the round table discussions.
Watch the full press conference below:
This press conference takes place almost a week since the accused six-year-old suspect shot his teacher, Abby Zwerner, inside a classroom at Richneck. Zwerner is currently recovering from the bullet that went through her hand and into her chest as she shield herself from the gunfire.
Zwerner’s twin sister set up a GoFundMe account to help with her recovery. Zwerner has now been hailed as a hero by Newport News police after officials say she made sure her students were out of the classroom even after suffering a gunshot wound.
Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said the gun used in the shooting was legally purchased in York County by the child’s mother, however, it’s unclear how the six-year-old got hold of the gun. Drew says only one round was fired, but multiple rounds were inside the gun’s magazine.
The child’s mother has not been charged related to the incident at this time.
School Superintendent Dr. George Parker III said the elementary school will be closed the week of January 9-13.
During the press conference, the school board says that there has been no timeline established for students to return to Richneck Elementary School.
An NNPS Crisis Team helpline is set up for people to call. The number for the helpline is 757-788-0635 and it is open 24 hours.
Families are invited to participate in a virtual Town Hall on Thursday, January 12, at 6:30 p.m.
Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.