Virginia teacher Abigail Zwerner Monday filed a $40 million lawsuit contending Richneck Elementary Schoo officials ignored her repeated warnings about a first grade student who eventually shot her in her classroom in January. Photo courtesy of Richneck Elementary School
April 3 (UPI) -- A teacher in Virginia filed a $40 million lawsuit Monday, contending school officials ignored her repeated warnings about a first grade student who eventually shot her in January.
In the lawsuit, Abigail Zwerner said school administrators brushed off her concerns about the 6-year-old boy, even after she warned them he had a gun inside the school, stating she continues to suffer from "physical pain and mental anguish."
Zwerner, 25, was shot in front of her class at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Va., on Jan. 6.
Zwerner alerted several officials, including fellow teachers and administrators that the boy may have a gun in school the day of the shooting. Teachers were denied permission to search the child's backpack.
Other students also reportedly saw the gun and reported it ahead of the incident
The lawsuit contends school officials showed a "reckless disregard for the safety of all persons on the premises."
The lawsuit states the child's past behavior should have alerted officials. At least one parent was required to come to class on a daily basis "because of his violent tendencies."
"Teachers' concerns with John Doe's behavior was regularly brought to the attention of Richneck Elementary School administration, and the concerns were always dismissed," the lawsuit states.
"Often when he was taken to the school office to address his behavior, he would return to the classroom shortly thereafter with some type of reward, such as a piece of candy."
Zwerner is seeking a trial by jury.
The 9mm bullet fired from a Taurus handgun, remains lodged in her body, leaving her with serious damage. The bullet first hit her in the hand before impacting her upper chest and shoulder.
She managed to get 18 students out of the classroom after being shot.
Court documents filed in Newport News Circuit Court contend the school's assistant principal, Ebony Parker did "breach her assumed duty...despite multiple reports that a firearm was on school property and likely in possession of a violent individual."
Parker resigned days after the shooting.
She was named as a defendant in the suit alongside Principal Briana Foster Newton, the Newport News School Board and former schools superintendent George Parker III.
Just weeks after the shooting, Newport News Public Schools voted to remove Parker III, after Zwerner first mentioned the ignored warnings.
Last month, police announced they would not charge the child, as it would be "problematic" because the young boy would not be competent to stand trial.
Prosecutors have not ruled out laying charges elsewhere.
A lawyer for the child's family has said the gun used in the shooting was stored in a safe location in the home.
The family, nor the attorney, have shared information about how the child obtained the weapon.