Teacher Shot By Six-Year-Old Student Plans To Sue School District


Photo: Tribune News Service

A lawyer for the elementary school teacher who was shot by a six-year-old student said that she plans to file a lawsuit against the Newport News Public Schools district.

Diane Toscano, an attorney for 25-year-old Abigail Zwerner, said that the shooting could have been prevented. Toscano noted that school administrators received multiple reports that the six-year-old student had a gun but allowed him to stay in class.

In one instance, a school administrator asked for permission to search the boy but "was told to wait the situation out because the school day was almost over." In addition, Zwerner told school administrators that the young boy had threatened to beat up another student.

"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.

Zwerner has been released from the hospital but still has a long road to recovery.

"She is in between surgeries and physical therapy appointments with a career in question," Toscano said. "The road to full recovery will be long, and as her physical condition improves, the psychological wounds cut deeply and remain fresh," Toscano said.

The boy has not been identified, and it is unlikely he will be charged based on his age. His parents, who could face charges, recently released a statement saying that the gun was legally purchased and was "secured" in their home. They also noted that their son "suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school."

Investigators have not said how the boy gained access to the gun or how he managed to hide it from school administrators.

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