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Students return to Virginia elementary school 3 weeks after child shoots teacher

Students return to Virginia elementary school 3 weeks after child shoots teacher
Students return to Virginia elementary school 3 weeks after child shoots teacherPolice respond following a shooting at Richneck Elementary School in Virginia. Billy Schuerman/The Virginian-Pilot/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Newport News, Virginia, elementary school where a six-year-old shot his teacher reopened on Monday, with additional security measures in place as cautious parents led their children back into the classroom.

Kids were welcomed back to Richneck Elementary School three weeks after police say the boy intentionally shot his teacher, 25-year-old Abby Zwerner, with a 9mm handgun. Zwerner was brought to the hospital in critical condition, but continues to improve and is now recovering at home.

Newport News police officials said the gun had been legally purchased by the boy’s mother, and that she could potentially face charges for the shooting. A motive for the shooting remains unclear, although legal experts told CNN it is unlikely the boy himself will face charges.

As students walked back into class on Monday, several police cars were parked outside the school and a significant law enforcement presence was in place, The Associated Press reported.

Scrutiny has been placed on the school district after attorneys for Zwerner said that Richneck Elementary was warned about the boy having a gun at least three separate times prior to the shooting, and claimed nothing was done.

The district has already voted to remove superintendent George Parker III. In a statement prior to the school’s reopening, Richneck said additional security measures would include providing children with clear backpacks and having everyone go through metal detectors.

Melissa McBride, who has fourth-grade twins at Richneck, said her children’s fears were alleviated after they attended an open house at the school prior to its reopening.

“They saw the metal detectors and that was a comfort,” McBride told AP. “It was a calm atmosphere. It was huge to see their friends and everybody being happy.”

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