Virginia teacher shot by Richneck Elementary student files lawsuit

Xavier Roger


A first-grade Virginia teacher shot by a 6-year-old student has filed a lawsuit seeking $40 million in damages from Newport News school officials.

In the lawsuit filed by Abby Zwerner, the teacher accuses the district accused of gross negligence for reportedly ignoring multiple warnings on the day of the shooting that the boy had a gun and was in a “violent mood.”

Zwner, a  25-year-old teacher at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, was shot in the hand and chest on Jan. 6 as she sat at a reading table in her classroom. 

She was hospitalized for nearly two weeks after being shot. The shooting rattled the military shipbuilding community and sent shock waves around the country, with many wondering how a child so young could get access to a gun and shoot his teacher.

Virginia teacher shot by 6-year-old student details recovery:Some days ‘can’t get up out of bed’

This image provided by NBC News, Abby Zwerner, a first-grade teacher who was shot and wounded by a 6-year-old student in Virginia, speaks to Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s Today Show, which aired Tuesday March 21, 2023. (NBC News via AP ) ORG XMIT: NYTV201

Zwerner’s attorney, Diane Toscano, told reporters in January concerned staff at the school had warned administrators three times the child had a gun and was threatening other students in the hours before Zwerner was shot. Toscano said the school administration “was paralyzed by apathy” and didn’t call police, remove the boy from class or lock down the school.


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