Virginia teacher shot by six-year-old student texted loved ones to say school was failing to act | US News

The teacher who was shot by her six-year-old student texted a loved one to say the boy was armed and school officials were failing to act before she was wounded.

Abigail Zwerner sent the text around an hour before she was shot in Virginia earlier this month, NBC News reported.

The 25-year-old teacher at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News said the student had said he had a gun in his backpack.

A source told the outlet the text “showed her frustration”, adding: “She was frustrated because she was trying to get help with this child, for this child, and then when she needed help, no one was coming.”

A spokesperson for Newport News Public Schools said: “Anything that has been reported to our school leadership team in regards to concerns at Richneck from teachers and staff members is part of the investigation. It’s being thoroughly investigated.”

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‘How does a child have a gun?’

Teacher will sue school district

Ms Zwerner’s lawyer has announced she will sue the school district.

Diane Toscano said on the day of the shooting concerned teachers and employees warned administrators the boy had a gun on him and was threatening other students three times, “but the administration could not be bothered”.

She said around 12.30pm one teacher told administrators she had taken it upon herself to search the boy’s bookbag, but warned he had the gun in his pocket.

Ms Toscano said after 1pm another boy told his teacher the student had shown him the gun and threatened to shoot him, and the teacher reported that to administrators.

Another employee later asked permission to search the boy after hearing about the gun, but “was told to wait the situation out because the school day was almost over”, Ms Toscano said.

Ms Zwerner had also told school administrators around 11.15am that the boy had threatened to beat up another child.

Read more:
Parents of boy who shot teacher say gun was ‘secured’

Willow Crawford, left, and her older sister Ava, right, join friend Kaylynn Vestre, center, at a vigil for Abby Zwerner. Pic: AP
Image:
Willow Crawford, left, and her older sister Ava, right, join friend Kaylynn Vestre, center, at a vigil for Abby Zwerner. Pic: AP

Police say shooting was ‘intentional’

Police chief Steve Drew has repeatedly characterised the shooting as “intentional”, saying the boy aimed at Ms Zwerner and fired one round, striking her in the hand and chest.

Ms Zwerner was hospitalised for nearly two weeks, but is now recovering at home, a hospital spokesperson said.

Superintendent George Parker III has said at least one administrator was told on the day of the shooting the boy might have had a weapon, but no weapon was found when his backpack was searched.

Police have said school officials did not tell them about the tip before the shooting, which happened hours later.

The boy’s mother legally purchased the gun used in the shooting, police said.

Lawyers representing the boy’s family said: “On behalf of the family of the child, we continue to pray for Ms Zwerner and wish her a complete and full recovery.

“Our hearts go out to all involved.”

Last week the boy’s family said the gun was “secured”.

They also said the boy has an “acute disability” and was under a care plan “that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day”.

The week of the shooting was the first when a parent was not in class with him, the family said.

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