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Teacher shot by 6-year-old sues school officials for $40 million

Abigail Zwerner says the school was aware of the student's violent history and refused to take action, despite repeated warnings that he had a gun.
Abby Zwerner
Posted at 3:13 PM, Apr 03, 2023

The first-grade teacher who was shot by her 6-year-old student at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, is suing school administrators and the school board for $40 million in damages.

Abigail Zwerner, 25, alleges the school had been aware of the student's violent nature and refused to take action despite repeated warnings that he had a firearm at school the day of the shooting, according to the lawsuit obtained by Scripps News Norfolk. The lawsuit was filed against the Newport News School Board and two other parties, former superintendent George Parker and assistant principal Ebony Parker.
The lawsuit also references a previous incident in which the student strangled and choked his kindergarten teacher.
"All Defendants knew that John Doe attacked students and teachers alike, and his motivation to injure was directed toward anyone in his path, both in and out of school, and was not limited to teachers while at the school," the lawsuit reads.
The student had been removed from Richneck and sent to another school for the remainder of his kindergarten school year, but was allowed to return for first grade in the fall of 2022.
He had been on a modified schedule after "chasing students around the playground with a belt in an effort to whip them with it," and was cursing at school staff, the lawsuit said. Under a modified schedule, a parent had been required to accompany the boy at school.
Teachers allegedly often flagged the student's misbehavior but were ignored, the lawsuit says. When the child was at times taken to the office, the lawsuit alleges he'd return with some reward, like a piece of candy.


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