Investigators Looking at Possible Cover-Up at School Where Teacher Was Shot

John Ransom | April 16, 2024

(The Lion) — Prosecutors in Virginia are now investigating why the disciplinary records of a 6-year-old student at Richneck Elementary disappeared after the student shot a teacher.

“We’ll work with the school system to try to ferret out how this happened,” Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn said at a news conference announcing the results of a grand jury report. “And based on the facts of the law, if we believe somebody else needs to be charged, trust me when I tell you, they will be charged.”

A special grand jury (SGJ) report concluded that a criminal probe of LaQuiche Parrott, the director of Elementary Leadership at Newport News Public Schools, was in order based on evidence of a cover-up detected during deliberations. 

“Why did she have the file and why is it missing crucial documents that could potentially implicate certain administrators for their decisions regarding the child? … The root of this is what is Dr. Parrott hiding and who is she trying to protect?” the report asked. 

The report found Parrott’s “testimony highly suspicious and potentially obstruction of justice.” 

In the best case this is “a complete lack of competence as to how things were run and recorded and at its worst a cover up for the child’s past disciplinary record by the school administration,” said the SGJ. 

“There should be a continuing investigation into the missing files and documents to determine if Dr. Parrott and/or other parties should be charged with obstruction of justice. Basis: The testimony of Dr. Parrott leads to far more questions than answers as to why a student’s private and confidential file would be in her car or home. Her inability to recall any of the events surrounding the file suggests something much more devious at play,” said the SGJ’s recommendation. 

The SGJ report also said the student had a long history of disruptive behavior, including a choking incident involving an attack on another teacher, as well as spitting, hitting and kicking staff members.  

Despite such behavior, no action was taken by the school administration to protect teachers or students from the student, said the grand jury found. 

Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told Fox News he thinks prosecutors will criminally charge Parrott if they think she hid or destroyed the student’s records.   

“Taking or destroying records related to a criminal investigation is a crime,” he said. “Parrott can be charged with obstruction of justice. This is in addition to the substantive child neglect charges that Parker is facing.” 

Parrott could also be facing civil liability in the case for failing to protect the students, said Rahmani. 

The SGJ last week indicted the former assistant principal at Richneck Elementary, Ebony Parker, for eight counts of child abuse stemming from the shooting of Abigail Zwerner by the student in January 2023. 

The indictment said Parker showed “a reckless disregard for human life,” when she ignored warnings by Zwerner and others about the dangers posed by the child, reported the Virginia Pilot.