Metal detectors to be used in Newport News schools after boy shot teacher

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — Metal detectors will be installed in every school in the Virginia city where a 6-year-old boy shot and wounded his teacher last week, school officials said Thursday.

The Newport News School Board received permission Wednesday to purchase 90 walk-through metal detectors and has already begun ordering them, said board chair Lisa Surles-Law. The first state-of-the-art detectors will be installed at Richneck Elementary School, where first-grade teacher Abigial Zwerner was shot.

Superintendent George Parker said on Monday that the city already uses metal detectors and random searches in high schools and middle schools, but not at elementary buildings.

Surles-Law said last week’s shooting changed that.

“The time is now to put metal detectors in all of our schools,” she said at a news conference.

The Jan. 6 shooting occurred as Zwerner was teaching her class. Authorities said there was no warning and no struggle before the 6-year-old boy pointed the gun at Zwerner and fired one round.

The bullet pierced Zwerner’s hand and struck her chest. The 25-year-old rushed her students out of the classroom before being rushed to the hospital. She has improved and is listed in stable condition, authorities said.

Police Chief Steve Drew has described the shooting as “intentional.” A judge will determine what’s next for the child, who is being held at a medical facility following an emergency custody order.

Drew said the child used his mother’s gun, which had been purchased legally. It’s unclear how he gained access to the weapon. A Virginia law prohibits leaving a loaded gun where it is accessible to a child under 14, a misdemeanor crime punishable with a maximum one-year prison sentence and $2,500 fine.

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