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Virginia teacher allegedly shot by 6-year-old student tells NBC she ‘tries to stay positive’ in first interview since shooting



CNN
 — 

The first-grade teacher who was allegedly shot by a 6-year-old student in her Newport News, Virginia, classroom has spoken out for the first time since the January incident, saying in an interview with NBC that she has tried to “stay positive.”

“I’ve been doing OK. It’s been challenging,” Abigail Zwerner told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie in an interview, more than two months after the January 6 shooting at Richneck Elementary School left her hospitalized with gunshot wounds to the hand and chest.

“Some days are not so good days where I can’t get up out of bed,” Zwerner told NBC. “Some days are better than others where I’m able to get out of bed and make it to my appointments. But from going through what I’ve gone through, I try to stay positive.”

Zwerner was released from the hospital last month, a hospital spokesperson confirmed. The teacher has undergone four surgeries since the shooting, NBC reported, most recently on her hand, which Zwerner still cannot fully use.

The boy who allegedly shot Zwerner will not be criminally charged, Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn told CNN affiliate WTKR earlier this month.

The family of the student has released a statement which said the boy has an “acute disability” and was under a care plan that required a parent to attend school with him, though he was unaccompanied on the day of the shooting. “We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives,” the statement read.

Two days before the shooting, the student allegedly “slammed” and broke Zwerner’s cell phone and cursed at guidance counselors, which led to him being suspended for one day, according to a legal notice sent to the Newport News School Board by Zwerner’s attorney that also informed officials about the teacher’s plan to file a lawsuit against school administrators.

After the one-day suspension, the student returned to Zwerner’s classroom and shot her, the document said.

Zwerner’s attorney, Diane Toscano, has alleged that concerned teachers and employees alerted administrators three times on the day of the shooting that the student had a gun and was threatening people. Toscano alleged the administrators “failed to act” despite having “knowledge of imminent danger.”

The school district has declined to comment on the possible lawsuit.

Abigail Zwerner was hospitalized after one of her first-grade students allegedly shot her in the hand and chest on January 6, authorities said.

The fallout from the incident was swift, drawing harsh criticism from parents and leading the school board to vote to oust Superintendent George Parker III. Richneck Elementary’s assistant principal, Ebony Parker, resigned two weeks after the shooting and the principal, Briana Foster Newton, was reassigned to another school, though the district did not say where.

Pamela Branch, an attorney for Newton, has said the former principal was not aware of the gun at the school.

“The fact of the matter is that those who were aware that the student may have had a gun on the premises that day did not report this to Mrs. Newton at all,” Branch said.

The school district told CNN previously that it could not comment on whether Newton or anyone else was made aware of a potential gun on campus because that is part of an ongoing investigation.

CNN’s Brian Todd, Aileen Graef, Aya Elamroussi, Chris Boyette, Dakin Andone and Michelle Watson contributed to this report.

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