U.S. NewsCrime


Virginia teacher who was shot by her 6-year-old student resigns

Abby Zwerner sent an email to the school district noting her intent to resign.
Teacher Abby Zwerner
Posted at 8:08 AM, Jun 14, 2023

Abby Zwerner, the first-grade teacher from Richneck Elementary School in Virginia who was shot by her 6-year-old student, has resigned from her job with Newport News Public Schools, according to an NNPS spokesperson.

NNPS said that on March 13, Zwerner was catching up on some emails and noticed that the employee intent form for the upcoming school year was past due. She then emailed the HR Department and asked for assistance with completing the online intent form since it was no longer available, and was told that "the intent deadline has passed. However, we can use this form of communication as your intent to return or resign at the end of the school year," according to NNPS.

Zwerner then replied to the email stating, "I wish to resign. Thank you," said the spokesperson with NNPS.

Newport News Public Schools

HR staff processed Zwerner's resignation, and followed up with two emails on March 20 and May 22 confirming her separation date of June 12, the last day of Zwerner's 10-month teacher contract, according to NNPS.

NNPS says this "exit email" is standard for all employees leaving NNPS.

One of Zwerner's lawyers, Jeffrey Breit, told our sister station WTVR that Newport News has not paid Zwerner since February, and "they tried to get her to take workers' compensation."

The spokesperson for NNPS told Scripps News Norfolk that "She did not receive any payments past February from Newport News Public Schools, because she refused workers' compensation and she exhausted all of her leave."

NNPS said immediately following the shooting on Jan. 6, the HR Department began processing workers' compensation for Zwerner.

Typical protocol, according to the spokesperson, is for the injured employee to use seven days of sick leave before workers' compensation begins. However, HR did not process seven days of sick leave for Zwerner due to "discretion based on the unusual situation," and NNPS said Zwerner was on admin leave with pay until the workers' compensation payments began.

A school bus outside Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia.

'I thought I had died': Teacher shot by 6-year-old student speaks out

For the first time, first-grade teacher Abigail Zwerner is speaking out about the day she was shot by her 6-year-old student at Richneck Elementary.


Zwerner, like other employees at Richneck Elementary School, was paid while the school was closed for staff and students, according to the spokesperson.

When Zwerner refused workers' compensation, HR staff used her sick leave to continue compensation, according to NNPS, and when Zwerner's sick leave was out, she was placed on unpaid medical leave.

Since the shooting on Jan. 6, Zwerner has taken legal action against Newport News Public Schools, and she says her recovery has been challenging.

This story was originally published by Madeline Miller at Scripps News Norfolk.