Diane Toscano, the lawyer for the teacher Abigail Zwerner, claimed Wednesday that the administrators at Richneck Elementary School were warned multiple times about the 6-year-old boy’s gun, but were "paralyzed by apathy" and refused to call the police or lock down the school.
According to the Associated Press, Toscano said her client will sue the Newport News school district after she was shot by the 6-year-old while teaching earlier this month.
Toscano said, "On that day, over the course of a few hours, three different times — three times — school administration was warned by concerned teachers and employees that the boy had a gun on him at the school and was threatening people. But the administration could not be bothered."
At a meeting earlier this month, Newport News Public Schools Superintendent George Parker told parents that "at least one" school official knew of a potential gun on the school’s campus prior to the shooting.
At 11:15 am the day of the shooting, Zwerner told an administrator that the boy threatened to beat another student up. Toscano claims the school official did not take any action.
The lawyer alleged that one of Zwerner’s colleagues told a school administrator around noon that she had looked through the boy’s backpack and believed he put the gun in his pocket before recess. According to Toscano, the administrator "downplayed" the teacher’s theory, and dismissed them by saying that the boy "has little pockets."
Another teacher told a school administrator an hour later that the boy showed one of his classmates the gun during recess and threatened to shoot him if he told anyone about it. The classmate came to his teacher "crying and fearful," according to Toscano, but school officials still refused to act.
After another school employee warned the administration that the 6-year-old boy might have a gun, the administrator allegedly refused to search the boy when asked to.
At approximately 2 pm that day, the 6-year-old student fired the gun at his 25-year-old teacher into her chest in front of the class. Zwerner was hospitalized for two weeks.
Toscano said during a press conference Wednesday, "Did administrators call the police? No. Did administrators lock down the school? No. Did administrators evacuate the building? No. Did they confront the student? No."
"Three weeks ago, Abby was a cheery young woman with a big heart and loved educating young people — she had a very bright future and a career she loved. Today, she is between surgeries and physical therapy appointments, with a career in question. How could anyone find the courage to confidently face a class of students again?"
On Wednesday, The Newport News School Board voted 5-1 to oust district Superintendent George Parker III during a special meeting. He will be relieved of his duties effective Feb. 1.
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