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Press Release

Statements from VEA, NEA Presidents on Shooting Outside Huguenot High School Graduation in Richmond

Presidents of the Virginia Education Association and the National Education Association on the shooting outside the Altria Theater at Huguenot High School’s graduation
Published: June 13, 2023

RICHMOND, Virginia — Two people were fatally shot and several more were injured in a shooting that took place outside a high school graduation ceremony at Altria Theater in Richmond, Virginia, on Tuesday evening, according to news reports.

The following can be attributed to VEA President Dr. James J. Fedderman:

“I am devastated by the horrific mass shooting outside the Huguenot graduation ceremony in Richmond today. It’s been five months to the day since the shooting of an educator in Newport News, also in our state. When will I stop having to react to these terrible events? While there is much we do not yet know about this attack, here is what we do know: all our children deserve to be safe from gun violence. But they are not — today we lost two people, including a young man who was celebrating his graduation. We cannot continue to simply tolerate the senseless violence affecting our community. To do so means abandoning hope for tomorrow. Classrooms and campuses must be safe havens where students, educators and all in our communities feel welcomed and where learning is celebrated.”          

The following can be attributed to NEA President Becky Pringle:

“Our hearts go out to the victims and their families, as well as all the students, families and educators who will carry the trauma of today’s events with them. Schools should be the safest place in our towns and cities, but once again, another community has been shattered by gun violence. A graduation ceremony that began as a joyous night of celebration senselessly turned into tragedy. Thoughts and prayers simply are not enough to keep our communities safe. This is yet another reminder of the horrifying realities students, parents, and educators face every day. We are heartbroken. We are tired. We are angry. We must continue to come together to end the preventable epidemic of gun violence that is tearing this country apart. And to those so-called leaders who refuse to do anything to protect our babies from being murdered, we will hold you accountable.”

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Follow VEA on Twitter at @VEA4Kids
Follow NEA on Twitter at @NEAmedia and @BeckyPringle

About the Virginia Education Association
The Virginia Education Association represents more than 40,000 teachers, school support professionals, and others dedicated to Great Public Schools for Every Child in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Find out more at

About the National Education Association
The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at



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National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.