US

Teacher Abigail Zwerner, who was shot by a six-year-old student in the US, has opened up about the difficulties of her “exhausting” recovery for the first time.

The 25-year-old was left with wounds to her left hand and chest, which required a hospital stay of nearly two weeks after the shooting took place in a school in Newport News, Virginia.

The teacher was praised for escorting 20 children to safety after being shot.

Ms Zwerner has now spoken publicly for the first time in an interview which is set to air on NBC’s “TODAY” show in the US on Tuesday.

In a two-minute preview of the interview, Ms Zwerner said she’s been doing “okay,” while adding that “it’s been challenging” and that she’s “gone through a lot of obstacles and challenges.”

She added: “Some days are not so good days, where I can’t get up out of bed.

“Some days are better than others, where I’m able to get out of bed and make it to my appointments.

“But you know, from going through what I’ve gone through, I try to stay positive.”

‘Tragedy could have been prevented’

Earlier this month, a prosecutor decided not to seek charges against the six-year-old boy.

Attorney Howard Gwynn said the “prospect that a six-year-old can stand trial is problematic” given that a child that young wouldn’t have the ability to understand the legal system and what a charge means.

However, according to Ms Zwerner’s lawyer, Diane Toscano, the boy had behavioural issues and a pattern of troubling interactions with staff and students at the school.

“I can tell you there were failures on multiple levels in this case, and there were adults that were in positions of authority that could have prevented this tragedy from happening and did not,” Ms Toscano added.

NBC reported Ms Zwerner’s lawyers are planning to file a lawsuit about the shooting in the next two weeks.

A school board boss has already lost his job over what happened, amid concerns Ms Zwerner’s attempts to raise the alarm about the boy having a gun were apparently ignored.

‘Mentally exhausting’

Ms Zwerner told NBC News that she has had four operations since the shooting – the most recent one on her hand, which she is now unable to use fully.

Daily tasks have become harder for her, such as opening a water bottle and getting dressed.

“Physical therapy is not only physically exhausting but mentally exhausting as well. I’m supposed to be moving them once every hour, throughout the hour,” she told NBC.

Ms Zwerner added: “Just manipulating them to get that blood flowing and to get that movement back into the hand.”

Read more:
Boy ‘used mother’s legally owned gun’
Teacher texted loved ones to say school was failing to act

The shooting, which took place on 6 January, raised fresh concerns about school and gun safety, as police said the boy had taken a gun that belonged to his mother.

The legally owned 9mm handgun was found in the boy’s backpack on the day of the shooting.

In a statement, the family of the six-year-old pupil said the gun was “secured” at their home when he took it.

“Our family has always been committed to responsible gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the reach of children. The firearm our son accessed was secured,” the family said in a statement provided by their attorney, James Ellenson.

“Our heart goes out to our son’s teacher and we pray for her healing in the aftermath of such an unimaginable tragedy as she selflessly served our son and the children in the school,” the statement continued.

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