Richneck Elementary School in Virginia will install walk-through metal detectors after officials were alerted last week that a 6-year-old student who allegedly shot his teacher might have had a weapon but failed to find it after a search.
Before last week’s shooting of a first-grade teacher, school officials were told that the child might have brought a weapon to school, according to Newport News Public Schools Superintendent George Parker, who was quoted in a report from CNN affiliate WTKR.
At least one school administrator was notified earlier on January 6, the day of the shooting, of the possible presence of the weapon, Parker told school families during a town hall meeting on Thursday, according to WTKR.
Parker also said that a search of the boy’s backpack found nothing, the station reported.
School district spokesperson Michelle Price told The Washington Post in an email Thursday night that she was unaware who initially reported that the student may have had a weapon. Officials are also unaware of where the weapon was hidden during the search of the child’s backpack, Price told the outlet Thursday night.
CNN requested comment from Newport Public Schools on Friday morning but hasn’t yet received a response.
The decision to install metal detectors was announced by Newport News School Board Chairperson Lisa R. Surles-Law in a press conference Thursday.
The school board requested the metal detectors for Richneck immediately to get the students back in the building, Surles-Law said. The school has been closed since last Friday’s shooting.
The gun involved was legally purchased by the child’s mother, officials said. The boy took the firearm from his home to school in his backpack Friday, Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said Monday.
The teacher was “providing class instruction when the 6-year-old child displayed a firearm, pointed it at her and fired one round,” Drew said at a news conference. “There was no physical struggle or fight.”
The teacher was shot in the chest, and was in stable condition, he said.
The boy was under a temporary detention order and being evaluated at a hospital. School officials have not released the names of the child or the mother.
This was the first shooting of 2023 at a US school, according to analysis by CNN. In 2022, there were 60 shootings at K-12 schools.
According to the K-12 School Shooting Database, which contains information on shootings at American schools since 1970, there have been three other cases in which the suspect was as young as 6, and they have all occurred since 2000.