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

On Tuesday, it was announced by school authorities that the first-grade educator, who was shot by her 6-year-old pupil in Virginia, has stepped down from her role. This decision comes over two months after she filed a $40 million lawsuit against the school district.

Newport News Public Schools stated that Abby Zwerner’s contract concluded on Monday. The district mentioned that Zwerner informed the human resources department in March about her decision not to come back for the upcoming academic year.

On January 6th, Zwerner, aged 25, was shot in her hand and chest while sitting at a reading table in her first-grade classroom. At times, she struggles to get out of bed, has undergone numerous surgeries, spent close to a fortnight in the hospital, and shared with NBC.

On that particular day, the young lad possessed a firearm and was in an aggressive state of mind, despite numerous cautions that were disregarded by school authorities, claiming that Zwerner initiated her lawsuit in early April.

The school board has pushed back, asking a judge to dismiss the case and arguing that Zwerner should get workers compensation instead.

Zwerner’s attorney described her departure as a termination. In a conversation with WAVY-TV, it was initially reported that Zwerner ceased to be employed by the district on Tuesday.

Lawyer Jeffrey Breit stated that school officials sent Zwerner an email, effective the close of business on 06/12/2023, informing them that they had completed the process of terminating their employment.

Breit informed WAVY that there is no alternative interpretation to the fact that you have been terminated. According to Breit, this is the perception of the individual in question. She lacks comprehension and there is no additional means of communication.

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In a statement on Tuesday, Newport News Public Schools denied Breit’s assertion.

“Every staff member who is departing from the educational department receives a comparable message,” the district stated.

The school system also provided emails between the district and Zwerner in which the teacher wrote: “I wish to resign. Thank you.”.

Breit did not reply to an email and a phone call from The Associated Press inquiring for a comment.

Along the Atlantic shoreline, a city known for its shipbuilding industry and home to approximately 180,000 residents, the repercussions of the shooting continue to resonate, and Zwerner’s departure marks yet another significant turn of events.

In accordance with United States legislation, Deja Taylor, the mother of the perpetrator, admitted her guilt on Monday in a federal court for the violation of possessing a firearm while consuming marijuana, an act that is forbidden by law. The individual who shot Zwerner utilized the firearm belonging to his mother.

Taylor is facing charges on the state level for the felony of child neglect and reckless storage of a firearm, which occurred in August for a trial set to count those acts.

Meanwhile, Zwerner’s $40 million legal case is still unresolved.

Zwerner’s lawyers stated that school officials were aware that the boy had a track record of unpredictable aggression both at school and at home. This included an incident in which he choked his kindergarten teacher and “strangled” him prior to the episode occurring last year.

The lawsuit states that the concerns of teachers regarding John Doe’s behavior were frequently brought to the attention of the administration at Richneck Elementary School, but they were consistently disregarded.

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The school board has contended that Zwerner’s injuries are encompassed by the state’s workers compensation act while requesting a judge to dismiss the case.

The school board rejected Zwerner’s claim that she could reasonably expect to work with young children in Newport News without any danger, pointing to numerous incidents of violence against teachers across the U.S.

In an ideal scenario, the board expressed that even with their teachers, young children would not present any threat to others, which is unfortunately not the case.

The board of education stated that Zwerner has declined to accept workers’ compensation.

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