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Attorney: Teacher shot by 6-year-old fired by Newport News Public Schools

Chris Graham
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The JMU alum who was shot by a 6-year-old in her first-grade class classroom was fired by Newport News Public Schools on Monday, according to her attorney.

“I don’t think you can read this any other way than you’ve been fired. And that’s what she thinks. She doesn’t understand it. There’s no other communication,” said Jeffrey Breit, the attorney for Abby Zwerner, the now-former Richneck Elementary School teacher who was shot on Jan. 6.

Zwerner, who was hospitalized for two weeks with gunshot wounds to the chest and to her left hand, and has undergone four surgeries to repair injuries suffered in the shooting, has filed a $40 million lawsuit against the Newport News School Board, former Superintendent Dr. Gregory Parker, former Richneck Principal Briana Foster-Newton, and former Richneck Assistant Principal Dr. Ebony Parker.

Attorneys for Parker are asking a judge to dismiss the suit, arguing that because Zwerner was shot while doing her job, her injuries are covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act.

Breit said Monday that the school system stopped paying Zwerner in February, citing the same workers’ comp claim.

“They haven’t paid her in a couple of months. They are trying to squeeze her,” Breit told WAVY News 10. “She has to Aug. 1 to leave or re-sign, they fire her two months early. The only thing I can think, they were trying to put pressure on her because we filed suit. It’s outrageous, as outrageous as I’ve ever seen.”

The school division, in a statement issued on Monday, claims that Zwerner notified Newport News Public Schools on March 13 that she was resigning her position, and that the email that Zwerner received on Monday is simply “a confirmation of her separation of service from Newport News Public Schools.”

“Every employee who is separating from the school division receives a similar communication,” the statement from Newport News Public Schools reads.

“Ms. Zwerner was an employee of Newport News Public Schools until June 12, 2023, the last day of her contract,” the statement concluded.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].