Important Message from the Superintendent

Posted: January 7, 2023

Families and Staff,

We are deeply saddened about the incident that occurred at Richneck Elementary on Friday, January 6, 2023. Our thoughts and prayers are with the faculty member who was injured, her family, and the entire Richneck school community. The safety of our students and staff is and always will be our first priority.

On Friday, January 6, 2023, a school shooting occurred in a first-grade classroom. The suspect has been identified as a 6-year-old male student and he is in custody. The victim has been identified as a classroom teacher. As of today, the teacher is reported to be in stable condition. We will continue to follow her progress and support her and her family during this difficult time. No students were injured during this incident.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the faculty and staff at Richneck Elementary, the Newport News Police Department, the Sheriff's Office, and the Fire Department for their swift and professional response. Their collective efforts, coupled with the active shooter training provided to the staff of Richneck, ensured an immediate and coordinated response to this safety threat.

It is important that at this time we focus on the welfare of our Richneck students and staff. For that reason, we have canceled school Monday, January 9, 2023 through Friday, January 13, 2023 at Richneck Elementary School. All other schools and offices will report on schedule next week. This time will enable us to provide any supports needed for school staff and families as we continue to work with local authorities to assess what occurred and review our security procedures.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind our families that we have a plan in place at each of our schools to handle emergency situations. We work with closely with the NNPD and other first responders to prepare for these types of emergencies and regularly practice our safety procedures with students and staff through discussions and emergency exercises. While no amount of planning can guarantee that a tragedy such as this will not occur; please know that our collective efforts and preparation resulted in immediate medical care for our faculty member, no injuries to students, and a safe and efficient reunification process for our families and students.

In addition to offering onsite assistance at Richneck Elementary, with assistance from the Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board, the NNPS Crisis Team has established a 24-hour helpline, (757) 788-0635, which may be used by families and staff for assistance. Licensed therapists are available to assist parents and staff with tips for talking with children, counseling services and resource referrals. Click here to view additional guidance and tips.

We will continue to work with authorities to review what has transpired and most importantly learn from this experience. A six-year old student with access to a weapon brought that item to his first-grade classroom. There are many concerns that we will need to unpack before we will be able to determine if any additional preventive measures would have impacted the probability of this incident occurring. In addition to assessing our established safety procedures, we will need the support of our community to significantly reduce the likelihood of a child or young adult gaining access to a weapon.

The safety of our students and staff remains our greatest priority. We are in this together and our continued efforts will yield the greatest impact on school safety.

Please consider our school and division staff a resource, should you need support or guidance moving forward.

Yours in Service,

George Parker, III, Ph.D.