The teacher who was shot by a 6-year-old student in Virginia has resigned, school officials say

by Sophia Chen
school shooting

School officials have confirmed that the first-grade teacher in Virginia, who was shot by a 6-year-old student, has resigned from her position. The announcement came on Tuesday, over two months after she filed a $40 million lawsuit against the district.

Abby Zwerner, the teacher who was shot, concluded her contract with Newport News Public Schools on Monday, according to a statement released by the district. In March, Zwerner informed the school’s human resources department that she would not be returning for the next school year.

On January 6, while sitting at a reading table in her first-grade classroom, Zwerner was shot in the hand and chest by the 6-year-old student. She spent nearly two weeks in the hospital and underwent multiple surgeries. Zwerner has been facing physical and emotional challenges since the incident, at times struggling to get out of bed.

In early April, Zwerner initiated a lawsuit against the school officials, alleging that they ignored several warnings indicating that the student had a gun and was in a violent state of mind on that particular day.

The school board has responded by seeking to dismiss the case, arguing that Zwerner should be entitled to workers compensation instead.

WAVY-TV initially reported on Tuesday that Zwerner was no longer employed by the district. Zwerner’s attorney, Jeffrey Breit, characterized her departure as a termination, citing an email from school officials in May that stated her employment separation was effective from June 12, 2023.

However, Newport News Public Schools refuted Breit’s claim, asserting that similar communications are provided to all employees who are leaving the school division. The district also provided emails showing Zwerner’s own written statement of resignation.

Zwerner’s resignation marks another development in the aftermath of the shooting, which has had a significant impact on the community of Newport News.

The boy who shot Zwerner had used his mother’s firearm. His mother, Deja Taylor, recently pleaded guilty to federal charges of using marijuana while in possession of a firearm, an illegal act 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.

As Zwerner’s $40 million lawsuit remains pending, her attorneys argue that school officials were aware of the student’s history of violence both at school and at home, including a previous incident where he physically assaulted his kindergarten teacher.

The school board contends that Zwerner’s injuries should be covered under the state’s workers compensation act and rejects her claim that she could reasonably expect to work with young children without any danger. They cite other instances of violence against teachers across the country as evidence.

Despite the board’s suggestion, Zwerner has refused to accept workers compensation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about school safety

Q: Why did the first-grade teacher resign from her position?

A: The first-grade teacher resigned from her position after being shot by a 6-year-old student. The incident led to legal battles and concerns over school safety.

Q: What legal actions were taken after the shooting incident?

A: The teacher filed a $40 million lawsuit against the school district, alleging negligence in ignoring warnings about the student’s violent tendencies. The school board has sought to dismiss the case and argued for workers compensation instead.

Q: What charges are the student’s mother facing?

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

Q: How has the school district responded to the teacher’s resignation?

A: The school district refuted claims that the teacher was fired and provided evidence of her own resignation letter. They have also stated that similar communications are given to all employees leaving the district.

Q: What concerns have been raised regarding school safety?

A: The incident has raised concerns about school safety, particularly regarding violence by young students. It has sparked discussions on gun control, child endangerment, and the overall safety of teachers and students in educational institutions.

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Emma_Lovr June 14, 2023 - 11:22 pm

can’t believe they’re trying 2 dismiss the teacher’s case! she deserves compensation after what she went through. schools should take responsibility!

LillyTulip June 15, 2023 - 5:59 am

school safety is such a huge concern these days. kids should feel safe at school, not scared of getting shot. this incident is a wake-up call for everyone.


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