Teacher Who Was Shot By a 6-year-old Describes Her Difficult Recovery

A Virginia teacher who was shot and wounded by her 6-year-old student said she has had four surgeries and is going through a challenging recovery.

First-grade teacher Abby Zwerner, speaking publicly for the first time since the Jan. 6 shooting, said in an exclusive interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie that she has days when she “can’t get out of bed,” while other days she is able to go about her day and make it to appointments.

“For going through what I’ve gone through, I try to stay positive. “You know, try to keep a positive attitude about what’s happened and where my future is going,” Zwerner said in an excerpt from an interview that aired Monday on “NBC Nightly News.”

Zwerner spent nearly two weeks in the hospital after being shot in the chest and left hand while teaching at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia.

The shooting shook the military shipbuilding community and sent shockwaves across the country, with many people wondering how a young child could get a gun and shoot his teacher.

Zwerner’s attorney, Diane Toscano, told reporters in January that concerned staff at the school had warned administrators three times that the 6-year-old had a gun and was threatening other students in the hours before Zwerner was shot.

 Teacher Who Was Shot By a 6-year-old

Toscano said the school administration “was paralyzed by apathy” and didn’t call the police, remove the boy from class or lock down the school.

According to Zwerner’s legal notice of intent to sue the school district in early February, the boy who shot Zwerner had constantly cursed at staff and teachers, tried to whip students with his belt, and choked another teacher “until she couldn’t breathe.”

Two days before the shooting, the boy allegedly “slammed” and broke Zwerner’s cell phone, resulting in a one-day suspension. When the boy returned to her class the next day, he took his mother’s 9mm handgun from his pocket and shot her while she sat at a reading table, according to the legal notice.

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Following the shooting, the Newport News School Board fired its superintendent. Ebony Parker, an assistant principal named in Zwerner’s notice of intent to sue, resigned.

Newport News’ top prosecutor said earlier this month that he would not seek charges against the 6-year-old because the child lacked the competency to understand the legal system and what a charge means.

But Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn said his office hadn’t decided if any adults would be held criminally accountable.

According to police, the boy used his mother’s legally purchased gun. In January, the child’s mother’s lawyer, James Ellenson, stated that the weapon was secured on a high closet shelf and was locked away.

Ellenson said it was unclear how the boy got access to the gun. He also said the boy “was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day.”

In a statement released through Ellenson, the boy’s family said the week of the shooting “was the first week when we were not in class with him. ”

“We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives,” the statement said. More of the interview with Zwerner will be aired during the “Today” show Tuesday morning.

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