Newport News Teacher Shot by Six Yr. Old Is Suing School

A Virginia teacher who was shot by a 6-year-old student during class will sue the school district, the teacher’s attorney announced Wednesday. The boy shot 25-year-old Zwerner with a handgun owned by his mother as she taught class at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News on Jan. 6.

Concerned staff warned administrators at the school three times that the student was threatening students with the gun just hours before he shot and wounded a Abigail Zwerner. The crazy part is that the administration “was paralyzed by apathy” and didn’t call police, remove the boy from class or lock down the school, the wounded teacher’s lawyer said Wednesday.


As a result, the school board voted to fire school district superintendent George Parker III as part of a separation agreement that will pay Parker a little over $502,000 in severance — two years of his current base salary of $251,000. Undoubtedly, Parker has been sharply criticized by parents and teachers since the Jan. 6 shooting.

Diane Toscano, an attorney for Abigail Zwerner, said during a news conference that she has notified the school board in Newport News that the 25-year-old teacher at Richneck Elementary School plans to sue the school district over the shooting, which left Zwerner with serious injuries.

Lawyer Diane Toscano, who represents Abigail Zwerner, the Newport News teacher who was shot by a six-year-old student, reads a statement to media on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Newport News, Va. (Mike Caudill/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)

“On that day, over the course of a few hours, three different times — three times — school administration was warned by concerned teachers and employees that the boy had a gun on him at the school and was threatening people. But the administration could not be bothered,” Toscano said.

The Newport News Teacher Revealed Red Flags at the Onset

Not to mention another child saw the weapon at recess, and a teacher warned that the boy might have a gun in his pocket.

Abby Zwerner, a Newport News teacher was shot in the abdomen by a 6-year-old student who had brought a gun to school. (Facebook/Abby Zwerner)

Police Chief Steve Drew has repeatedly characterized the shooting as “intentional,” saying the boy aimed at Zwerner and fired one round, striking the teacher in the hand and chest. Zwerner was hospitalized for nearly two weeks but is now recovering at home, a hospital spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the boy’s family has spoken out claiming the gun was secured, while they pray for the recovery of the teacher their son shot.

“Our heart goes out to our son’s teacher, and we pray for her healing in the aftermath of such an unimaginable tragedy as she selflessly served our son and the children in the school,” the child’s family said Thursday in a statement issued by their attorney.


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