Teacher shot by six-year-old pupil sues school

US

A teacher who was shot by her six-year-old pupil has filed a $40m (£32m) lawsuit against her school, accusing management of ignoring warnings about his behaviour.

The lawsuit, filed on Monday, alleges that Abigail Zwerner told school officials in Newport News, Virginia that the boy was in a “violent mood” hours before he shot her in the hand and chest.

Ms Zwerner, 25, spent almost two weeks in hospital and underwent four operations after she was shot at Richneck Elementary School in January.

Her recovery has been “exhausting”, she revealed in March. Some days she struggles to get out of bed and she is still unable to use her left hand fully, she told NBC News.

The injured teacher was praised for helping 20 children to safety before calling for help.

The lawsuit says: “All defendants knew that John Doe attacked students and teachers alike, and his motivation to injure was directed toward anyone in his path, both in and out of school.”

Image:
A crime scene at Richneck Elementary School in January

Assistant principal Ebony Parker is accused of failing to act after several warnings from staff, including reports the boy was telling other students he had a gun.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants – including the school’s former superintendent, principal and vice principal – were aware of the boy’s history of “random violence”, including chasing other students around the playground with a belt and trying to whip them.

George Parker III was fired as district school superintendent after the shooting but was given a $502,000 (£405,063) severance payout, which is two years of his former base salary.

Image:
George Parker III. Pic:AP

Staff ‘couldn’t be bothered’

A lawyer for Ms Zwerner previously claimed he and other administrators were “paralysed by apathy”.

She has alleged staff “could not be bothered” and senior leaders told one employee to “wait the situation out, because the school day was almost over”.

Police said the boy used his mother’s gun during the attack, which was purchased legally.

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His parents refused to put him in special education classes with other students with behavioural issues, the lawsuit adds.

Prosecutor Howard Gwynn said the boy will not be charged because he is too young to understand the legal system.

No adults have been charged.

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