NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A foundation which intends to award a grant named in honor of Abby Zwerner, the teacher who was shot recently by a student at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, said Sunday that they're making some changes in the way in which the grant will be administered.
The Uvalde Foundation for Kids said it's cancelling the school's oversight of it's "Hero" grant award "due to developing circumstances" at the school.
The foundation has been coordinating additional trauma support and safety resources with Richneck Elementary School since Zwerner was shot on January 6.
They said that "given recent events at the school, the oversight and responsibility of the grant program itself would not be appropriate for the school itself to implement."
They said they "will instead be working with Ms. Zwerner and her representatives to oversee the grant directly."
Richneck Elementary School's administration has faced serious scrutiny over the way it handled multiple complaints about the 6-year-old student who allegedly shot Zwerner in January. The Assistant Principal, Ebony Parker, resigned, and the Principal, Briana Foster-Newton, is being reassigned within the school system.
Additionally, the incident led the Newport News School Board to fire the school system's superintendent, George Parker III.
On top of that, an attorney representing Zwerner has said they intend to file a lawsuit against the Newport News school system.
13 News Now reached out to Newport News Public Schools for their reaction, and they provided us with this statement:
"Newport News Public Schools is grateful for the support received from the Uvalde Foundation for Kids following the tragic incident at Richneck Elementary School last month. NNPS is appreciative the foundation will work directly with Ms. Zwerner to implement and manage the Hero Grant award."
The "Hero" grant, to be provided by the Uvalde Foundation for Kids, will include a financial stipend for student use. The foundation plans to award the grant annually to deserving teachers from across the nation, with the first grant to be presented to Zwerner In Spring, 2023.
In response to the news about the "Hero" grant, a lawyer representing Zwerner said that "Abby and her family have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from students, parents, and fellow teachers in Newport News and from educators and organizations around the country."
The Hampton Roads community has also stepped up to financially support Zwerner as she continues to recover from her injuries. A GoFundMe drive has raised almost $270,000 to assist her.
This is the full statement released by the Uvalde Foundation for Kids regarding oversight of the "Hero" grant:
The Uvalde Foundation For Kids, a 501c3 nonprofit organization announced Sunday that due to developing circumstances at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia; it is canceling the schools oversight of the Foundations recently announced, "Hero," Grant award - Named for teacher, Ms Abby Zwerner, shot recently by a student at the elementary school.
The Foundation stated it will instead be working with Ms Zwerner & her representatives to oversee the grant directly. The Foundation, who has been coordinating additional trauma support and safety resources with Richneck Elementary School since the violent incident; stated that given recent events at the school, the oversight and responsibility of the grant program itself would not be appropriate for the school itself to implement.
The grant, which includes a financial stipend for student use; is to be awarded annually to deserving teachers from across the nation; with the first grant to be presented to Ms Zwerner In Spring 2023.