Abigail Zwerner sent emails about boy’s behavior before shooting
The Virginia teacher who was shot by her 6-year-old student had warned administrators about his behavior – including allegedly sticking his middle finger at a classmate and shoving another – and said she felt “uncomfortable” with him returning to her classroom.
Teacher Abigail Zwerner reported two disturbing incidents involving the boy in emails to her superiors on Nov. 22, less than two months before he allegedly shot her at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, according to documents obtained by 13News Now.
Zwerner said the boy had stuck up his middle finger to a classmate on Oct. 11 — and a month later had bumped “into a classmate while running around the class” and then pushed the student to the ground.
“As of today, I do not feel comfortable with him returning to my classroom today…,” she wrote in the email to then-Principal Briana Foster Newton and then-Assistant Principal Ebony Parker.
Parker suggested scheduling a meeting with the boy’s father to address “behavioral difficulties” and “put some things in place to support” the troubled student, according to another email on Nov. 22 obtained by the news outlet.
An hour before the shooting, Zwerner had reportedly texted a loved one that the boy was carrying a gun in his backpack.
After the incident, the boy’s family told the district that he “suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day.”
They said that the week of the incident “was the first week when we were not in class with him. We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives.”
News about the email threads comes after the lawyer for Foster Newton said she had not been informed the student had a gun on the day of the shooting.
“It continues to be reported that unidentified school administrators were aware the 6-year-old student had a gun at school on Jan. 6 and simply failed to act,” attorney Pamela Branch told reporters last week.
“Mrs. Newton has been assumed to be one of those administrators; however, this is far from the truth,” she said. “The fact of the matter is those who were aware the student had a gun on the premises that day did not report it to Ms. Newton.”
Newton and Parker both resigned after it was revealed administrators had allegedly been warned three times that day about the boy being armed.
Zwerner’s attorney Diane Toscano has said school staffers warned administrators the boy was armed but that nothing was done.
She said that Zwerner plans to sue the school district over the “entirely preventable” shooting.
Despite being struck in the chest and hand, the heroic teacher still managed to lead her students out of the classroom before being rushed to a hospital.
The Virginia Senate has passed a resolution praising Zwerner for her bravery.
The resolution reads: “Despite life-threatening injuries, Abby Zwerner ushered her students to safety in another room and was the last person to exit the classroom where the shooting took place; no students were injured,” and “then alerted the school administrator to call for assistance,” according to the outlet.
The boy’s mother bought the 9mm gun legally and has not been charged with a crime, authorities said.