A Virginia educator who was wounded after being shot by an armed 6-year-old student is planning to sue her school district for not taking the threat seriously, Fox News is reporting.
Abigail Zwerner is bringing the lawsuit in light of the fact that school employees warned their administration three separate times that the student had a gun on them. The leadership team did not respond to those warnings, and Zwerner ended up being shot. The bullet traveled through her hand and into her chest.
Fox News said of the pending lawsuit:
Diane Toscano, a lawyer for Abigail Zwerner, said Wednesday that on the day of the shooting, concerned teachers and employees warned administrators three times that the boy had a gun on him and was threatening other students, “but the administration could not be bothered.”
The boy shot 25-year-old Zwerner with a handgun owned by his mother as she taught class at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News on Jan. 6.
“This should have never happened. It was preventable and thank God Abby is alive. But had the school administrators acted in the interest of their teachers and their students, Abby would not have sustained a gunshot wound to the chest,” Zwerner’s lawyer said. The student appears to have intentionally been aiming at his teacher.
Toscano went on to note that Zwerner herself had made an appeal to administration during the middle of the day, and that during another attempt to involve school leadership an employee was told ““to wait the situation out because the school day was almost over.”
“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 added, hammering the point home that administrators “could not be bothered” to act on the information being passed along to them.
The family of the accused student, whose name has not been released to the media or public, claimed that the “firearm our son accessed was secure” in a statement released through their lawyer.
“Our family has always been committed to responsible gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the reach of children,” the family’s statement continued. “We have been cooperating with local and federal law enforcement to understand how this could have happened.”
The statement went on to frame the alleged shooter as a victim. They suggested the boy “suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day. The week of the shooting was the first week when we were not in class with him. We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives.”
Zwerner has been praised as a hero for managing to lead her students to safety even after being shot. Despite being critically injured from the single shot, she led her class out of the room and to a safer location.
Already, resignations and firings have been coming in from the district. Dr. Ebony Parker, an assistant principal at the elementary school where Zwerner was shot, resigned shortly after the incident. The New York Post writes that it is unclear if Parker was the administrator being cited as saying to downplay the gun threat.
The New York Post added that Parker’s resignation is just the first change up foreseen in the wake of this tragedy.
Parker is the first administrator from the school known to resign in the wake of the shooting. However, Wednesday evening the Newport News school district hosted a special meeting where they voted to fire Superintendent Dr. George Parker III effective Feb. 1 and replace him with his deputy.
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