Lawyer Says 6-Year-Old Choked Another Teacher

Allegation is included in notice to sue Virginia school district
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2023 7:00 PM CST
6-Year-Old Choked Another Teacher: Lawyer
Lawyer Diane Toscano, who represents teacher Abigail Zwerner, reads a statement on Jan. 25 in Newport News, Va.   (Mike Caudill/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)

A lawyer for the teacher wounded in a Virginia elementary school last month says the 6-year-old shooting suspect was a terror in school, trying to whip classmates with a belt and once choking another teacher to the point she couldn't breathe, USA Today reports. The claims were included in a legal notice announcing that Abby Zwerner, the teacher wounded last month, plans to sue the Newport News school district, the AP reports. Two parents also filed notice that they intend to sue, per WVEC. The AP obtained copies of the filing through a public records request.

Diane Toscano wrote in the notice that two days before Abby Zwerner was shot, the boy slammed and broke the teacher's cellphone, which brought him a one-day suspension from school. When he returned, the lawyer wrote, the 6-year-old took a 9mm handgun from his pocket and shot Zwerner while she sat at a reading table. "It is a miracle that more people were not harmed," Toscano wrote. "The shooter spent his entire recess with a gun in his pocket, a gun that was loaded and ready to fire ... while lots of first-grade students played."

The second teacher confirmed that she was choked to the AP. She said she was in a chair in front of the class when the boy came up behind her, locked his forearms around her neck and pulled back hard. A teaching assistant pulled him off, she said. The teacher said she made a report to school administrators but was disappointed in their response. She said she no longer felt safe "because I knew if they didn't protect me when he choked me and I couldn't breathe, then they wouldn't protect me, my kids or my colleagues if he did something not as harmful." (More school shooting stories.)

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