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Teacher Who Was Shot by 6-Year-Old Student in Virginia Resigns, School Officials Confirm

by Sophia Chen
3 comments
school shooting

After more than two months since filing a $40 million lawsuit against the district, the first-grade teacher who was shot by her 6-year-old student in Virginia has officially resigned from her position, according to school officials on Tuesday.

Abby Zwerner, the 25-year-old teacher, concluded her contract with Newport News Public Schools on Monday, as stated in a released statement by the district. In March, Zwerner had informed the human resources department that she would not be returning for the next school year.

The incident occurred on January 6 when Zwerner was shot in the hand and chest while sitting at a reading table in her first-grade classroom. She endured multiple surgeries during her nearly two-week hospitalization and continues to face challenges in her recovery. In an interview with NBC, Zwerner mentioned struggling with daily tasks, admitting there are times when she “can’t get up out of bed.”

Zwerner’s lawsuit, filed in early April, alleges that school officials disregarded several warnings regarding the child’s possession of a firearm and his violent state of mind that day.

The school board has responded by requesting the dismissal of the case, asserting that Zwerner is entitled to workers’ compensation instead.

On Tuesday, WAVY-TV reported that Zwerner was no longer employed by the district. In an interview with the station, Zwerner’s attorney, Jeffrey Breit, referred to an email sent by school officials in May, stating that her employment separation had been processed effective as of the close of business on June 12, 2023.

Breit argued that the email constituted a termination, stating, “I don’t think you can read this any other way than you’ve been fired. And that’s what she thinks. She doesn’t understand it; there’s no other communication.”

Newport News Public Schools issued a statement refuting Breit’s claim, asserting that the communication sent to all separating employees is similar in nature. The district also provided emails exchanged between Zwerner and the school district, where Zwerner expressed her desire to resign by writing, “I wish to resign. Thank you.”

As the aftermath of the shooting continues to unfold in the city of Newport News, home to approximately 180,000 residents on the Atlantic coast, Zwerner’s resignation marks another significant development.

The boy who shot Zwerner had used his mother’s firearm. His mother, Deja Taylor, pleaded guilty on Monday in federal court to charges of using marijuana while possessing a firearm, which is illegal under U.S. law.

Taylor is also facing state-level charges of felony child neglect and reckless storage of a firearm, with a trial scheduled for August.

Meanwhile, Zwerner’s $40 million lawsuit remains pending. Her legal representation argues that school officials were aware of the boy’s history of violence both at school and at home, including a previous incident where he “strangled and choked” his kindergarten teacher.

In their motion to dismiss the case, the school board contends that Zwerner’s injuries fall within the scope of the state’s workers’ compensation act. They challenge Zwerner’s claim that she should reasonably expect to work with young children who pose no danger, citing numerous incidents of violence against teachers nationwide and in Newport News.

The school board further notes that Zwerner has declined to accept workers’ compensation as a resolution.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about school shooting

Q: Why did the teacher resign?

A: The teacher resigned from her position following the incident where she was shot by her 6-year-old student. The exact reasons for her resignation are not specified in the text.

Q: What is the ongoing lawsuit about?

A: The teacher filed a $40 million lawsuit against the district, alleging that school officials ignored multiple warnings about the student having a gun and being in a violent mood on the day of the shooting. The lawsuit is still pending.

Q: What happened to the student’s mother?

A: The student’s mother pleaded guilty in federal court to using marijuana while owning a firearm, which is illegal. She is also facing state-level charges of felony child neglect and reckless storage of a firearm.

Q: How is the school board responding to the lawsuit?

A: The school board is seeking to dismiss the case and argues that the teacher’s injuries fall under the state’s workers’ compensation act. They believe the teacher should receive workers’ compensation instead of the claimed $40 million.

Q: What is the status of the legal battle?

A: The lawsuit filed by the teacher is still ongoing, while the mother of the student has pleaded guilty in federal court. The trial for the state-level charges against the mother is scheduled for August.

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3 comments

User123 June 14, 2023 - 11:21 pm

teacher got shot by a 6-year-old, wow! tht’s so sad, shes suing for 40mil??? thts a lot of mny! hope she gets justice for what happened.

Reply
EducationEnthusiast June 15, 2023 - 4:29 am

This incident highlights the importance of school safety and proper handling of firearms. The lawsuit will shed light on whether there were any lapses in the school’s protocols. It’s crucial to ensure the well-being of both teachers and students.

Reply
Reader456 June 15, 2023 - 3:47 pm

crazy story, like a movie plot. a 6-yr-old with a gun? scary stuff. and the mom smokin weed with a firearm? what a mess. hope they figure it out in court.

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