Virginia teacher shot by 6-year-old student sues school officials for $40 million

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By James Kay

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A Virginia teacher who was shot in her classroom by a six-year-old student has sued school officials for $40 million after she claims that the school ignored warning signs.

Abigail Zwerner, a 26-year-old schoolteacher was shot by one of her students on January 6 at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia.

According to the New York Post, Zwerner attempted to confiscate the firearm from the child while instructing other kids in the class to exit the room. A shot was then fired into her abdomen and she was rushed to the hospital.

The child was not charged, as Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn told CNN affiliate WTKR: "After researching this issue thoroughly, we do not believe the law supports charging and convicting a six-year-old with aggravated assault."

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Anxious parents waiting outside a reunification center after Zwerner was shot at school. Credit: Tribune Content Agency LLC / Alamy

Following the incident and Zwerner making a recovery from her wounds, she has filed a $40 million lawsuit after claiming that the school did nothing to prevent the shooting despite knowing that the child had a firearm.

As reported by NBC News, Zwerner alleges that the school knew that the child "had a history of random violence" and posed an imminent threat on the day of the shooting.

The complaint was filed at the Newport News Circuit Court and it states that Richneck Assistant Principal Ebony Parker chose to "breach her assumed duty" to protect Zwerner "despite multiple reports that a firearm was on school property and likely in possession of a violent individual."

Named as the defendants are Newport News School Board, former schools Superintendent George Parker III, and Richneck principal Briana Foster Newton, who was transferred to a new role in the district.

Lawyers for Zwerner claim that students in the school had seen the gun on the day of the shooting and that school officials had been warned and chose not to act.

Lawyer Jeffrey Breit disputes Zwerner's claims as Virginia law states that a worker cannot sue their employer on negligence claims.

He added that the shooting was an "exception," Breit added: "No six-year-old student is going to be a risk of shooting their teacher. It's not part of their job. It's not a night 7-Eleven worker."

Following the attack, the boy's family told the district that he "suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day."

They added that this was the first week that they had not attended class with him and said that they shall regret it for the rest of their lives.

NBC News reported that previous claims against the child included "chasing students around the playground with a belt in an effort to whip them with it, as well as cursing at staff and teachers," and allegedly pulling up a girl's skirt and touching her inappropriately.

Zwerner took part in an interview with Today's Savannah Guthrie on March 21 where she gave updates on her health, stating: "I've been doing okay. It's been challenging. I've gone through a lot of obstacles and challenges."

"Some days are not-so-good days, where I can't get up out of bed. Some days are better than others, where I'm able to get out of bed and make it to my appointments," she added.

Featured image credit: Tribune Content Agency LLC / Alamy

Virginia teacher shot by 6-year-old student sues school officials for $40 million

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

A Virginia teacher who was shot in her classroom by a six-year-old student has sued school officials for $40 million after she claims that the school ignored warning signs.

Abigail Zwerner, a 26-year-old schoolteacher was shot by one of her students on January 6 at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia.

According to the New York Post, Zwerner attempted to confiscate the firearm from the child while instructing other kids in the class to exit the room. A shot was then fired into her abdomen and she was rushed to the hospital.

The child was not charged, as Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn told CNN affiliate WTKR: "After researching this issue thoroughly, we do not believe the law supports charging and convicting a six-year-old with aggravated assault."

size-full wp-image-1263204597
Anxious parents waiting outside a reunification center after Zwerner was shot at school. Credit: Tribune Content Agency LLC / Alamy

Following the incident and Zwerner making a recovery from her wounds, she has filed a $40 million lawsuit after claiming that the school did nothing to prevent the shooting despite knowing that the child had a firearm.

As reported by NBC News, Zwerner alleges that the school knew that the child "had a history of random violence" and posed an imminent threat on the day of the shooting.

The complaint was filed at the Newport News Circuit Court and it states that Richneck Assistant Principal Ebony Parker chose to "breach her assumed duty" to protect Zwerner "despite multiple reports that a firearm was on school property and likely in possession of a violent individual."

Named as the defendants are Newport News School Board, former schools Superintendent George Parker III, and Richneck principal Briana Foster Newton, who was transferred to a new role in the district.

Lawyers for Zwerner claim that students in the school had seen the gun on the day of the shooting and that school officials had been warned and chose not to act.

Lawyer Jeffrey Breit disputes Zwerner's claims as Virginia law states that a worker cannot sue their employer on negligence claims.

He added that the shooting was an "exception," Breit added: "No six-year-old student is going to be a risk of shooting their teacher. It's not part of their job. It's not a night 7-Eleven worker."

Following the attack, the boy's family told the district that he "suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day."

They added that this was the first week that they had not attended class with him and said that they shall regret it for the rest of their lives.

NBC News reported that previous claims against the child included "chasing students around the playground with a belt in an effort to whip them with it, as well as cursing at staff and teachers," and allegedly pulling up a girl's skirt and touching her inappropriately.

Zwerner took part in an interview with Today's Savannah Guthrie on March 21 where she gave updates on her health, stating: "I've been doing okay. It's been challenging. I've gone through a lot of obstacles and challenges."

"Some days are not-so-good days, where I can't get up out of bed. Some days are better than others, where I'm able to get out of bed and make it to my appointments," she added.

Featured image credit: Tribune Content Agency LLC / Alamy