The first-grade teacher shot by her 6-year-old student at a Virginia elementary school had previously raised concerns about the child that school officials downplayed.
Abigail Zwerner, 25, had previously asked school administrators for help with the boy’s behavior, according to a report from The Washington Post. The teacher’s pleas for help were dismissed.
The Post obtained messages from teachers about the Richneck Elementary School shooting that indicate Zwerner had reached out multiple times during the school year about the child. Another message detailed how the school allegedly downplayed the student’s concerning behavior, even after he told another teacher he hated her and that he wanted to light her on fire and watch her die.
After making a complaint about the incident, the teacher was told to let it go. In a separate incident, the child barricaded a classroom door to prevent the teacher and other students from leaving.
Zwerner was intentionally shot by the student earlier this month. The educator was shot once in her hand after raising it in a defensive position and in her upper chest. She was brought to the hospital and listed in stable condition.
The boy used a gun owned by his mother to carry out the shooting. The school has been criticized for its handling of the incident after it was reported the school had received a tip that the boy had brought a gun into the school but did not locate the weapon after a bag search. In addition, police were not notified of the information.
The investigation remains ongoing, and the child remains in emergency custody at a medical facility. The boy is too young to be tried as an adult or to be committed into the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice if found guilty.