Improve Safety Measures in Schools Following Reported Shooting of Teacher

Target: Richneck Elementary Interim Principal Karen Lynch

Goal: Pay immediate attention to gun violence safety in schools.

The Richneck Elementary school in Newport News, Virginia, is in the news for all the wrong reasons. Abigail Zwerner, a teacher, was reportedly shot through the hand by a 6-year-old student earlier this month. This shocking incident once again triggered the critical debate regarding gun safety in America’s school system. Recently, parents, teachers, and students met with the school board to present their views on this matter. Suggestions offered included proper deployment of metal detectors, improving classroom relations, and addressing student behavioral problems.

Proper deployment of metal detectors at the schools was one of the key issues raised by participants. The school board was accused of exhibiting a knee-jerk reaction instead of implementing a viable long-term strategy. The recent reported shooting was the third such incident in Newport News in 18 months. Two people suffered serious injuries at Heritage High School grounds on September 2021. Again, in December 2021, a teen was allegedly shot to death just outside Menchville High School after a basketball game.

The school board has been visibly lax in ensuring safe learning conditions. Metal detectors were finally ordered for elementary schools, but they remain to be installed. People also raised concerns about adequate manpower and resources to oversee the metal detectors. The need for additional safety measures such as manual oversight of backpacks, additional security, and conducting random searches were also discussed. A student at the meeting pointed out that the High Schools already have metal detectors, but they were not being put to effective use.

By adding your signature to the petition below, you can insist the school board deal with its inefficient management policies. Employing proper safety measures in the elementary school can prove to be a strong step toward preventing gun violence.


Dear Principal Lynch,

The reported shooting in Richneck Elementary calls to question the adequacy of safety measures in the school. It is not an isolated incident, the third such in the last 18 months. Recently, the school board convened a meeting with parents, teachers, and students to discuss the matter. Several issues were raised, including the urgency to deploy full-proof safety measures in the school.

Metal detectors were finally ordered last week, but they remain to be installed. Then, the issue remains whether the school is ready to deploy adequate resources to man them. High Schools in Newport News already have metal detectors, but they have not been put to use. The school is yet to initiate an internal investigation. Meanwhile, there has been no update as yet on when school would resume.

By taking up the matter actively, you can ensure a safe learning environment at Richneck Elementary. It should also set a strong precedent for school safety in Virginia. We are asking you, Principal Lynch to display adequate seriousness on this vital issue.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Shane

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  • Rebecca Elliott
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