Families pack school board meeting following shooting at Richneck Elementary

Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 4:58 AM EST
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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WWBT) - More than a week after a 6-year-old student allegedly shot his teacher, dozens expressed their frustrations to Newport News school officials during Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

“I think we need to remove all members of Newport News Public Schools executive leadership,” one public commenter said. “The leadership must be held accountable.”

Many community members signed up to speak Tuesday night and urged the school board to ramp up school security after the shooting at Richneck Elementary School earlier this month.

“I recommend increasing the number of school security officers in the elementary schools to two,” a speaker said. “The minimum of two per elementary school and then seriously evaluate the number for the other schools.”

While others said the school division needs to focus on taking harder action when it comes to disciplining students.

“I want behaviors held accountable, I want to change,” One woman told the school board. “I don’t want to have a family dinner where I talk about where my kids will hide in their school. I would rather be discussing archery practice or listening to the adventures of a 4th-grade safety patrol. There need to be accountabilities in the rights and responsibility handbook.”

According to a presentation later given on Richneck Elementary, the school division has already hired a full-time security guard for the school and will be installing doors in the second-grade classrooms.

They’re also considering requiring students to have clear backpacks but some parents feel this is just a quick fix and not a long-term solution.

“I appreciate that Newport News is trying to act reactively but I am also just as concerned that this is a reactive approach,” a parent told the school board.

There is no date set just yet on when students will return to class at Richneck but according to the presentation, metal detectors will be installed by Friday.