Virginia teacher

An attorney for Abby Zwerner, the first-grade teacher who was shot and injured by a 6-year-old student earlier this month in Newport News, Virginia, said Richneck Elementary School administrators were given multiple warnings that the unidentified boy was armed but “failed to act” on those reports.

Diane Toscano, a defence attorney representing Zwerner, said in a news conference on Wednesday that Zwerner and several other teachers filed reports on Jan. 6, the day Zwerner was shot. Toscano stated that the first report was made between 11:15 and 11:30 a.m., when Zwerner informed administrators that the 6-year-old had threatened to beat up another child. According to Toscano, the school did not act on the report.

Toscano said that around 12:30 p.m., a second unidentified teacher went to school administrators and said she searched the boy’s backpack because the boy was suspected of having a gun.

“The teacher then informs that same administrator that she believes the boy put the gun in his pocket before going outside for recess,” Toscano explained. “The administration was uninterested. The administrator dismissed the teacher’s report and the possibility of a gun, saying, quote, ‘Well, he has little pockets.'”

Toscano said that shortly after 1 p.m., a third teacher went to administration and reported that another student had been found crying and terrified. According to the third teacher, the other student told the administration that the 6-year-old showed him the gun at recess and threatened to shoot him if he told anyone.

A fourth employee reportedly learned of the danger and requested permission from administrators to search the 6-year-backpack, old’s but was denied.

“He was told to wait it out because the school day was nearly over,” Toscano explained. “Unfortunately, violence struck Richneck Elementary School almost an hour later.”

Toscano also stated that she informed the Newport News school board of her intention to sue Zwerner. She did not specify the nature of the lawsuit.

“Because the school’s investigation is ongoing, I cannot comment on the statements presented by Ms. Zwerner’s lawyer at this time,” said Michelle Price, the director of public information for Newport News Public Schools.

The Newport News School Board voted 5-1 in a special meeting on Wednesday to fire Superintendent George Parker III. He will be relieved of his responsibilities on February 1.

Zwerner was shot in front of her other first-grade students; the shooting was described as “intentional” by police. She was able to get out of her classroom, and another school employee, whom Toscano identified as a teacher, restrained the 6-year-old boy.

According to police, the boy brought the gun from home. His parents have stated that the gun was “secured,” but it is unclear how he obtained the weapon.

Zwerner was admitted to the hospital with life-threatening injuries and has been recovering at home since January 19. Toscano stated that the bullet is still in Zwerner’s body and that the teacher is still undergoing surgeries and physical therapy.

It’s unclear what, if any, charges the 6-year-old will face. He is currently in the hospital.

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