VA Teacher Struck By 6-Year-Old Recalls Springing Into Action

VA Teacher Struck By 6-Year-Old Recalls Springing Into Action Despite ‘Serious’ Injury: ‘I Just Wanted To Get My Babies Out’

Abigail Zwerner, the 1st-grade Virginia teacher shot by her six-year-old student in January, is speaking out in her first public interview. Zwerner sat down with Savannah Guthrie, for an interview that aired Tuesday, March 21 on NBC’s TODAY.

Zwerner detailed what happened that day, as well as her recovery process thus far.

RELATED: UPDATE: 6-Year-Old Student Who Struck Virginia Teacher Will Not Face Charges


Abigail Zwerner Says She’s Trying To Stay Positive During Her Recovery Process

On January 6, Abigal Zwerner was working as a 1st-grade teacher at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia. As The Shade Room previously reported, a 6-year-old student reportedly brought a 9 mm handgun from his home and into her classroom.

Zwerner attempted to confiscate the gun from the child when he intentionally shot her. The incident left Zwerner in stable but “serious condition” and she was consequently hospitalized for two weeks.

The 25-year-old recalled the day of the incident, adding that it felt like “just a regular school day.” But as the day proceeded, a feeling of fear began to grow inside her. Then the student pulled out the firearm.

“I remember him pointing the gun at me. I remember the look on his face. I remember the gun going off. I remember feeling something. It was a pretty scary day.”

Zwerner went on to emphasize the fear she had at that moment.

“There’s some things that I’ll never forget. And I just will never forget the look on his face that he gave me while he pointed the gun directly at me. That’s something that I will never forget. It’s changed me. It’s changed my life.”

Despite being injured by the gunshot, Zwerner’s main focus remained on her children and getting them to safety.

“In that moment, my initial reaction was, ‘Your kids need to get out of here … and then you need to go find help for yourself.’ That was pretty shocking itself. But I just wanted to get my babies out of there.”

Zwerner’s Action That Saved Her Life & Her Recovery Process Since

Zwerner explained that the initial bullet went through her left hand, fracturing multiple bones. The bullet then went into the left side of her chest, leaving some fragments inside her body — which she says will most likely remain there for the rest of her life. The 25-year-old explained that her injuries could have been “fatal.” But one act of her’s saved her life.

“It could’ve been fatal. We believe — with my hand being up, with it going through my hand first — we believe that, by the bullet going through the hand first, that it most likely saved my life.”

Speaking with Guthrie, Zwerner revealed that the incident initially left her “traumatized.” However, she’s striving to stay positive during her healing process.

“I’ve been doing okay. It’s been challenging. I’ve gone through a lot of obstacles and challenges. 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 for going through what I’ve gone through, I try to stay positive. You know, try to have a positive outlook on what’s happened and where my future’s heading.”

Zwerner Is Pressing Forward With A Lawsuit Against Newport News School Board

As The Shade Room previously reported, the 6-year-old student will not face criminal charges. However, Zwerner plans to hold the Newport News School Board responsible for their negligence.

According to NBC News, Zwerner’s attorney, Diane Toscano, shared their intent to file a lawsuit against the Newport News School Board. The lawsuit will be filed in two weeks and reportedly asserts that three teachers went to school authorities on January 6, concerned about the student’s behavior.

Additionally, Zwerner explained that the child threatened to “beat up another student” that day. A second teacher reportedly search his backpack that day, to no avail. Then a third teacher allegedly saw the show another child the firearm during recess.

NBC News reports that the school’s principal during the time of the shooting, Briana Foster Newton, has since been removed from her position. However, Toscano believes there were “multiple levels” of failure in this case.

“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… I’ve met with the attorneys for both the school board and the city of Newport News, and they’re gonna have to respond in court.”

NBC News reached out to James Ellenson, the attorney for the 6-year-old’s family, who responded with a statement regarding these new developments.

We welcome the prosecutor’s decision and continue to pray for Ms Zwerner’s complete recovery.


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