Steps To Becoming A Teacher In Virginia – NEW NEWS, Va. – The scene was heartbreakingly familiar. Inside Richneck Elementary School, children and teachers were terrified. At a nearby family reunification center, desperate parents waited for answers. Some were so terrified that they could hardly breathe. Once again, a school shooting has sent shockwaves through the community.
The incident, which initially sparked fears of widespread violence, quickly turned into a different tragedy: a rare example of a school shooting involving a very young child.
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A 6-year-old first-grader at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Va., shot a teacher with a handgun Friday afternoon, the Newport News Police Department said, in what police said was “not a random shooting.” no.” The boy and the teacher got into an argument in the classroom before the boy shot the teacher once, police said. The teacher suffered life-threatening injuries but recovered and was in good condition Saturday.
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Police radio traffic posted online by Broadcastify, a streaming service, captured the chaotic moments as the broadcaster communicated with officers responding to the scene.
“We have a gunshot victim in the stomach,” the dispatcher said. She added that the victim had also been punched and was waiting for medical help at the school office, where she was “conscious and unconscious.”
Paramedics were also called to a nearby church, where some parents were said to be on ventilators as they awaited information.
It took just six days for the country to record its first school shooting in 2023, according to Education Week’s tracker, a number that will likely rise as school shootings continue to increase in the United States. Outside Richneck Elementary School, a large green-roofed building in the quiet Newport News neighborhood, the school sign still read “Happy New Year” on Saturday.
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Still, school shootings involving young children are rare, experts say. The K-12 school shooting database, which collected data on every school gun incident — whenever a weapon was fired on school property — dating back to 1970, identified only 16 incidents involving shooters as young as 10 years old. , and even less than 6 year olds. years.
Police radio traffic on Friday described the woman who was shot in the stomach and waiting in the school office as “conscious and passed out.” Credit… Billy Schuerman/The Virginian Pilot, via The Associated Press
Among them: How did a 6-year-old get a gun? Authorities did not publicly identify the child or the teacher, provide details on how the altercation unfolded or provide information about whether the gun was taken from the home, school or elsewhere.
The boy was in custody Friday night, authorities said, but the unusual nature of the situation makes the front road far from opening. Although it is possible for the child to be charged with a crime, legal guardianship may also fall to the child’s parent or other adult. Virginia law prohibits leaving a loaded handgun within reach of children under the age of 14.
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“It’s horrible,” said Ramon Gonzalez-Hernandez, who said his son was in the classroom when the teacher was shot.
“I’m just here to keep my son busy so he doesn’t have to think about everything,” said Mr. Gonzalez-Hernandez added, briefly talking about his side. He said he is waiting to hear from detectives so he can have counseling sessions and is considering home-schooling his son.
Located on a quiet street where parents and children can often be seen walking through the neighborhood, Richneck Elementary School serves a diverse student body of 550 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Newport News, a city of 185,000 in southeastern Virginia, is home to a large military community and is known for its shipyards that build aircraft carriers and other vessels for the U.S. Navy. .
Daniel Smith, 51, who lives near the elementary school, said he was surprised by the shooting because the surrounding neighborhood is generally safe. “We’re a quiet neighborhood,” he said. “No one bothers anyone and they keep to themselves.”
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The shooting has renewed calls from teachers unions and gun control groups for tougher laws to keep guns out of schools, including laws requiring safe storage. “When will the horror of a school shooting be enough to motivate the necessary action to stop guns in schools and the destruction of lives they cause?” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a statement.
Virginia, unlike other states – notably Oregon and Massachusetts – does not have a broad law requiring all guns to be safely stored in homes.
“Virginia’s law is on the weak end of these types of laws,” said Allison Anderman, senior counsel and director of local policy at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin said Saturday that he believes Virginia already has “some of the toughest gun laws in the country,” but that the next step is to invest more money in mental health treatment and tougher penalties for gun violence. Weapons crimes.
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In last month’s proposed state budget, ahead of the 2023 legislative session next week, the governor requested $230 million to increase capacity to deal with people with mental health problems, including mobile crisis teams, and mental health services. of expanded schools and childcare for people. a problem. He also said Saturday, during a brief interview in Virginia Beach, that he wants the Legislature to impose tougher penalties for gun crimes, though it’s unclear whether any action will help. acting like a 6-year-old could handle a loaded gun at school. .
According to Virginia law, a six-year-old child cannot be prosecuted as an adult. Although it is possible for a child to face criminal charges in juvenile court, the minimum age for sentencing to juvenile detention in Virginia is 11.
“The juvenile justice system is not really equipped to deal with juvenile delinquents, and it may be the wrong place to deal with this situation,” said Andrew Block, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. of Law and former director of the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice.
The sad situation in Virginia comes amid increased attention to violence in elementary schools, especially after a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas last year. before.
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In the 2020/21 school year, the most recent year for which data is available, 59 elementary schools reported gun incidents, up from 32 last year and more than the same number as recently as 2016, according to the K.-12 school shooting data. .published by the National Center for Education Statistics.
However, not all accidents resulted in injuries or deaths. The number includes incidents in which a gun is fired or fired or a shot is fired on school property, regardless of intent or whether anyone is injured.
“It’s not necessarily that the number of shootings is increasing based on how those incidents are defined, but the presence of guns is increasing,” said Jaclyn Schildkraut, interim director of the State Coalition for Gun Violence Research. Rockefeller Institute of Government. Youngkin outlines steps to address teacher shortage in executive order Teacher advocates have expressed concern over teacher pay, a highly politicized work environment.
Virginia Superintendent of Education Jillian Balow, Secretary of Education Aimee Rogstad Guidera and President Glenn Youngkin at Colonial Forge High School on September 1, 2022. (Nathaniel Cline/Virginia Mercury)
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Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed an executive order Thursday that aims to address Virginia’s teacher shortage through strategies that include hiring retired teachers and targeting recruitment and retention efforts in the communities that need them most.
His directive comes as the nation and Virginia faces a teacher shortage due to possible causes such as intense political battles over education, disaster and salary dissatisfaction.
“We’re disappointed that we’re shortchanged right now,” Youngkin said. “It’s been a chronic shortage for years and it hasn’t been closed, which is why today’s executive order focuses on short-term challenges, but also on achieving some of these long-term solutions.”
Data from school districts, which report their vacancies each year on Oct. 1, showed Virginia teacher vacancies more than doubled from 1,063 in 2019 to 2,563 in 2021.
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The Virginia Department of Education says the areas with the most severe teacher shortages are elementary education, followed by special education and high school education.
Superintendent of Education Jillian Balow and Secretary of Education Aimee Rogstad Guidera joined the governor along with Republican Dels. Tara Durant and Phil Scott, who represent parts of Stafford County, Thursday at Colonial Forge High School in announcing the new executive order. The group joined community leaders, teachers and students to discuss plans to address educational attrition across the state.
According to the directive, Balow will be allowed to issue and renew the teaching licenses of out-of-state teachers and retired teachers whose licenses may have expired. Guidera and others from
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