Parents preparing to sue school district where 6-year-old shot teacher

Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia.
(Image credit: Kristen Zeis for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The parents of two students at Richneck Elementary, the Virginia school where a 6-year-old shot his teacher, filed notices of potential legal action against the Newport News School District, CBS News reports.

The families say their children experienced trauma from the Jan. 6 shooting, which left first-grade teacher Abigail Zwerner critically injured. In one case, the parents say their daughter "suffered emotional harm" from witnessing the shooting, and accused school administrators of failing to protect their daughter from bullying, harassment, and assault. The other family said their child sustained "injuries" in the shooting; authorities have said no children were physically hurt during the incident, and the family's attorney did not share into additional details.

Police have said the 6-year-old brought his mother's 9 mm handgun to school and used it to purposely shoot Zwerner, 25. The teacher spent about two weeks in the hospital, and is recovering at home. Her attorney, Diane Toscano, filed a legal notice at the end of January stating that in the hours before the shooting, at least three teachers and staff members approached school administrators and said they thought the boy had a gun; his backpack was searched and no weapon was found, and the boy was allowed to stay in his class.

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The document also says the boy had been suspended for one day after he "slammed" Zwerner's cellphone and broke it, and he shot her on the day he came back to school. Administrators routinely received complaints about the boy, the document states, and he allegedly cursed at teachers, chased students while trying to whip them with a belt, and choked a teacher "until she couldn't breathe." The boy is now at a medical facility and is receiving unspecified services, CBS News reports, and an investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

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