School officials: Teacher who was shot by 6-year-old student in Virginia has resigned

Jun 13, 2023, 3:55 PM

FILE - Signs stand outside Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Va., Jan. 25, 2023. The firs...

FILE - Signs stand outside Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Va., Jan. 25, 2023. The first-grade teacher who was shot by her 6-year-old student at the Virginia school has resigned from her position, school officials said Tuesday, June 13, more than two months after she sued the district for $40 million. (AP Photo/Denise Lavoie, File)

(AP Photo/Denise Lavoie, File)

The first-grade teacher who was she sued the district for $40 million.

The last day of Abby Zwerner’s contract was Monday, Newport News Public Schools said in a statement. The district said that Zwerner notified human resources in March that she wouldn’t be returning next school year.

Zwerner, 25, can’t get up out of bed.”

Zwerner filed her lawsuit in early April, alleging that school officials ignored multiple warnings that the boy had a gun and was in a violent mood that day.

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

WAVY-TV first reported that Zwerner no longer worked for the district on Tuesday. In an interview with the station, an attorney for Zwerner characterized her departure as a firing.

Lawyer Jeffrey Breit cited an email that school officials sent Zwerner in May, stating they had “processed a separation of employment for you effective the close of business 06/12/2023.”

Breit told WAVY: “I don’t’ think you can read this any other way than you’ve been fired. And that’s what she thinks. She doesn’t understand it; there’s no other communication.”

Newport News Public Schools refuted Breit’s claim in a statement Tuesday.

“Every employee who is separating from the school division receives a similar communication,” the district said.

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 respond to an email and a phone call from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Zwerner’s resignation is yet another development in the aftermath of the shooting, which has reverberated through the shipbuilding city of about 180,000 people near the Atlantic coast.

The boy who shot Zwerner had used his mother’s gun. His mother, Deja Taylor, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to using marijuana while owning a firearm, which is illegal under U.S. law.

Taylor is facing charges on the state level of felony child neglect and reckless storage of a firearm. A trial for those counts is set for August.

Meanwhile, Zwerner’s $40 million lawsuit is pending.

Zwerner’s attorneys have said school officials knew the boy “had a history of random violence” at school and at home, including an episode the year before in which he “strangled and choked” his kindergarten teacher.

“Teachers’ concerns with John Doe’s behavior (were) regularly brought to the attention of Richneck Elementary School administration, and the concerns were always dismissed,” the lawsuit states.

In asking a judge to dismiss the case, the school board has argued that Zwerner’s injuries fall under the state’s workers compensation act.

The school board rejected Zwerner’s claim that she could reasonably expect to work with young children who pose no danger, pointing to numerous incidents of violence against teachers across the U.S. and in Newport News.

“While in an ideal world, young children would not pose any danger to others, including their teachers, this is sadly not reality,” the board stated.

The school board said Zwerner has refused to accept workers compensation.

National News

Water spills over the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, which runs along the Washington and Ore...

Associated Press

Biden deal with tribes promises $200M for Columbia River salmon reintroduction

The Biden administration has pledged over $200 million toward reintroducing salmon in the Upper Columbia River Basin in an agreement with tribes that includes a stay on litigation for 20 years.

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Surgeons perform second pig heart transplant, trying to save a dying man

WASHINGTON (AP) — Surgeons have transplanted a pig’s heart into a dying man in a bid to prolong his life – only the second patient to ever undergo such an experimental feat. Two days later, the man was cracking jokes and able to sit in a chair, Maryland doctors said Friday. The 58-year-old Navy veteran […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

GOP candidate challenging election loss in race to lead Texas’ most populous county drops lawsuit

HOUSTON (AP) — The highest profile Republican candidate who had sued seeking to overturn election results in the nation’s third-most populous county, a Democratic stronghold in deeply red Texas, has dropped her lawsuit. Alexandra del Moral Mealer was one of 21 GOP candidates who had filed lawsuits challenging their losses in November’s election in Harris […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Convicted sex offender back in custody after walking away from a St. Louis hospital

SHREWSBURY, Mo. (AP) — A man convicted of child sex crimes is back in custody after walking away from a St. Louis hospital, authorities said. Tommy Wayne Boyd, 45, was transported Wednesday from the Potosi Correctional Facility to Mercy Hospital South for medical treatment. Surveillance video later showed him walking away from the hospital, St. […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Lawmakers author proposal to try to cut food waste in half by 2030

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A bipartisan coalition of U.S. lawmakers has introduced a proposal designed to cut food waste in half by 2030. The lawmakers submitted their legislation on Thursday and said it would improve collaboration between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and regional waste prevention and food recovery organizations. The lawmakers said the proposal […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Chicago man gets life in prison for role in 2016 home invasion that killed 5 people

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago man convicted of fatally shooting five people during a 2016 home invasion has been sentenced to life in prison. A Cook County judge on Thursday sentenced Lionel Parks, 35, who was convicted in July in the December 2016 killings at a drug dealer’s home on the city’s South Side, the […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

School officials: Teacher who was shot by 6-year-old student in Virginia has resigned