NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (HPD) — Concerned teachers and staff warned administrative staff at a Virginia elementary school three times that a 6-year-old student had a gun and was threatening other classmates hours before shooting and hurt a teacher, “but the directors did nothing,” denounced the injured teacher’s lawyer on Wednesday.
Diane Toscano, an attorney for Abigail Zwerner, said during a news conference that she has already notified the Newport News School Board that the 25-year-old Richneck Elementary School teacher plans to sue the school district over the January 6 incident, that the left with serious injuries.
“On that day, over the course of a few hours, three separate times, three times, concerned teachers and employees warned school administration that the boy had brought a gun to school and was threatening people. But the directors did nothing,” Toscano said.
He added that around 12:30 pm, a teacher told the administrators that she had checked the boy’s backpack and thought that the boy had a gun in his pocket. Toscano said that after 1 p.m., another boy told his teacher that the student had shown him the gun and threatened to shoot him, and that that teacher reported what happened to the office.
Later, another employee asked permission to search the boy after hearing about the weapon, but “was instructed to wait because school was almost out,” Toscano said.
Zwerner also told officials around 11:15 a.m. that day that the boy had threatened to hit another student.
The incident raised questions about school safety and shocked Newport News, a city of about 185,000 located about 70 miles (113 kilometers) southeast of Richmond.
Sarah Brumfield in Silver Spring, Maryland contributed to this report.