The former Virginia schoolteacher who was shot last year by one of her first-grade students said she still worries about the other students and wonders how they are doing during a series of interviews with local media.
“I hope that they are enjoying school, enjoying their second-grade year,” Abby Zwerner, 26, told The Virginian-Pilot newspaper before the Jan. 6 anniversary of the incident. “I hope that they’re still kind to their classmates, kind to teachers. I hope that they still have happiness, and that their happiness wasn’t completely stripped away.”
Zwerner gave several interviews about the shooting that left her physically and emotionally scared. The story made national headlines and Zwerner received warmth from strangers across the world.
“The amount of kindness that people still have, that really resonates with me,” she told 13News Now. “That helps me remember that, just because something terrible happened to me that should never have happened, there’s still kindness and good left in the world.”
Zwerner is suing Newport News Public Schools for $40 million, alleging the district ignored multiple warnings that the boy had a gun and was in a violent mood.
The school board has tried to block the lawsuit, arguing that Zwerner is eligible only for workers compensation under Virginia law. But a judge ruled in November that the lawsuit can proceed to trial.
Fox News Digital has reached out to the attorney representing the school board.
The mother of the boy who shot Zwerner, Deja Taylor, was sentenced to two years in prison for felony neglect and federal weapons charges. The child told authorities he got his mother’s handgun by climbing onto a drawer to reach the top of a dresser, where the firearm was in his mom’s purse. Taylor initially told police she secured her gun with a trigger lock, but investigators said they never found one.
After the shooting, the boy allegedly bragged about it.
“I shot that b—- dead,” the boy said on Jan. 6, 2023, just moments after the shooting, according to Amy Kovac, a reading specialist at Richneck Elementary School. Kovac rushed into the classroom afterward and restrained the child until police arrived.
Zwerner said she doesn’t plan to go back to teaching. She said she hasn’t been in touch with her former students “it’s still been really hard to think of the last time I was with them,” Zwerner said. “And then I think about their last time that they were with me.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.