(CNN) — Abby Zwerner, the teacher who was allegedly shot by a 6-year-old child at an elementary school in Newport News, Virginia, alerted school administrators the day of the shooting that the child had a gun, according to her attorney. .
“Abby and these other teachers at Richneck Elementary School tried to do the right thing on January 6,” attorney Diane Toscano told a news conference on Wednesday, claiming that administrators were given notice three times over the course of a few hours of that “the boy had a gun on him at school and was threatening people.
“But the government can’t be bothered,” Toscano said, telling reporters he intended to sue on Zwerner’s behalf.
“This tragedy would have been entirely preventable if school administrators responsible for school safety had done their part and taken action when they learned of the imminent danger,” said Toscano. “But instead they failed to act and Abby was shot.”
CNN reached out to the school district for comment on Toscano’s claims, which come on the same day the Newport News school board plans to vote on removing the district superintendent following the shooting nearly three weeks ago.
A 6-year-old boy was taken into custody on Jan. 6 after taking his mother’s legally purchased gun to school in his backpack and shooting his first-grade teacher, Abby Zwerner, police said at the time.
Zwerner, 25, was initially in critical condition and then stabilized before being released from hospital after a bullet passed through his hand and hit his chest inside his classroom. Police said the shooting was intentional.
Since the shooting, the school board has had several meetings, including a heated one last week where members faced backlash from parents. The school board also met in a closed discussion on Tuesday, after which they decided to host a special meeting on Wednesday.
Members are expected to discuss — and likely approve — at Wednesday’s meeting a separation and termination agreement with Superintendent George Parker III, according to the agenda posted on the school board’s website.
Board members also plan to discuss the appointment of an interim superintendent.
CNN has reached out to Parker’s office for comment.
The school will reopen on Jan. 30, nearly a month after the shooting, school officials confirmed to CNN in an email earlier this week.
During the intense parent council meeting on Jan. 17, emotions ran high as frustrated parents spoke about the fear and anxiety their children have suffered since gun violence. At least one parent has asked that the superintendent’s position be reassessed.
“Why did it get negative national attention before you took it seriously and really reevaluated?” the father asked. “I think it is time for the citizens and parents of Newport News who did not elect him to re-evaluate his services as ours, our superintendent.”
The shooting came as the United States continues to grapple with the ubiquitous issue of gun violence that pervades many public spaces across the country.
The Richneck Elementary shooting was the first of 2023 at a US school, according to a CNN analysis. In 2022, there were 60 K-12 school shootings, CNN analysis shows.
Still, school shootings by such a young suspect are very rare.
There have been three other cases where the suspect was just 6 years old: in 2000, 2011 and 2021, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database, which has tracked school shootings since the 1970s.
Student suffers from acute disability, says family
The elementary school shooting followed an altercation between the teacher and the student, who pointed the gun at the teacher and fired a single shot, Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said.
“There was no fight or physical struggle,” Drew said at the time, adding that no other students were involved.
The boy was placed under a temporary detention order and was evaluated at a local hospital.
Almost two weeks after the shooting, the boy’s family released their first statement, praising the teacher.
“Our hearts go out to our son’s teacher and we pray for her healing after such an unimaginable tragedy when she selflessly served our son and children at school,” the family said in a statement released by attorney James Ellenson.
The family reported that the son has a disability and was receiving care at school.
“Our son suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan at school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to classes each day,” the family statement reads.
The family also said the gun allegedly used was safe before the shooting. They said a family member used to go to class with him, but not the week of the shooting.
“We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives,” the family’s statement said.
Meanwhile, the chief of police indicated that the boy’s mother could be indicted for the shooting.
“And at the end of the day, when everything is compiled together with the facts and what the law supports, Commonwealth counsel will make the decision if there are any future charges … against the parents,” Drew said.
Under Virginia law, it is a misdemeanor for an adult to leave a loaded firearm unsecured in a way that could endanger a child under age 14. fire gun.