UPDATE: Richneck shooting - Toscano Law Group, representing Zwerner, releases a new statement
The Newport News school board says a lawsuit by first-grade teacher Abby Zwerner should be dismissed because it's a worker's compensation issue.
A 6-year-old student shot and injured Zwerner in January. She filed a lawsuit on April 3 claiming Richneck Elementary administrators ignored warnings that the student had a gun and were negligent in failing to address the threat.
“(Zwerner) was clearly injured while at work, at her place of employment, by a student in the classroom where she was a teacher, and during the school day,” the filing to dismiss Zwerner’s case reads.
“Teaching and supervising students in her first grade class was a core function of (Zwerner’s) employment. Thus, (Zwerner’s) injuries arose out of and in the course of her employment and fall under Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Act.”
Allegations that Richneck administrators ignored warnings and complaints about the 6-year-old shooter emerged shortly after the shooting.
Soon after, former Richneck principal Briana Foster Newton and assistant principal Ebony Parker were reassigned within the district, and superintendent George Parker was fired by the school board in a 5-1 vote.
Foster Newton, Parker and the Newport News School Board are part of the suit to dismiss Zwerner’s case.
Toscano Law Group, who represents Zwerner, released a statement following the defendants' filing.
“No one believes that a first grade teacher should expect that one of the risks of teaching first grade is that you might get shot by a six-year-old," the statement reads.
"The school board’s position is contrary to how every citizen in Newport News thinks teachers should be treated, and the law does not support the board’s position. Teachers across the district will be alarmed to learn their employer sees this as part of the job description.”
The student who shot Zwerner won’t be facing any charges.
His mother, Deja Nicole Taylor, was charged with felony child neglect and a firearm misdemeanor earlier this month.
Note: Newport News schools are part of the Hampton Roads Educational Telecommunications Association, which holds WHRO’s FCC license.