The lawyer for a Virginia teacher who was shot by a 6-year-old student said school administrators were warned three times that the boy had a gun and making threats.
The incident took place at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News on Jan. 6, when Abigail Zwerner, 25, suffered serious injuries as a result. Her attorney, Diane Toscano, said she notified the school board of plans to sue.
“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.
Toscano said that Zwerner first went to an administrator after the boy threatened to beat up another child, but that no action was taken. Later, another teacher told an administrator that she believed the boy had a gun in his pocket and had taken it out to recess, Tuscano said.
Abigail Zwerner to Sue Richneck Elementary
“The administrator downplayed the report from the teacher and the possibility of a gun, saying — and I quote — ‘Well, he has little pockets,’ ” Toscano said.
Later, another child was crying after saying the boy had shown the gun at recess.
Another employee asked an administrator to search the boy, the administrator turned him down, Toscano said.
“He was told to wait the situation out because the school day was almost over,” she said.
The shooting took place about an hour later.
“Abby Zwerner was shot in front of those horrified kids, and the school and community are living the nightmare, all because the school administration failed to act,” Toscano said.
“Were they not so paralyzed by apathy, they could have prevented this tragedy.”
Police said the shooting was intentional, with Zwerner suffering wounds to the chest and hand. She is now at home recovering.
The boy’s family said that the boy has an “acute disability” and was under a care plan that included his mother or father accompanying him to class every day. The week of the shooting was the first he did not have a parent with him in school.