Administrators at Richneck Elementary in Newport News, Va., were warned three times on the day of the shooting that left Abigail Zwerner in critical condition.
The revelation has prompted Dr. Ebony Parker, the school’s assistant principal, to resign, a school-district spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.
Prior to Zwerner being shot by her six-year-old student on January 6, at least three employees had warned Richneck Elementary administration that the child had been in possession of a gun just hours before the attack.
According to a press briefing given Wednesday by Zwerner’s lawyer, Diane Toscano, four separate reports were made to the administration the day of the shooting. Three times, teachers came forward with complaints that the student had a gun.
“On that day, over the course of a few hours, three different times — three times — school administration was warned by concerned teachers and employees that the boy had a gun on him at school and was threatening people. But the administration could not be bothered,” Toscano said during the press conference.
However, despite growing concern amongst staff that the student posed a threat to the school, many were advised not to worry.
After one concerned teacher voiced their alarm, a senior administrator instructed them “to wait the situation out because the school day was almost over,” Toscano told the New York Post.
Another report had a school official dismissing the allegation that the child placed the gun in his pocket. “Well, he has little pockets,” the administrator allegedly responded.
Similar concerns were voiced in a group chat amongst teachers at the school obtained by the Washington Post, acknowledging that Zwerner had “asked for help” several hours before the shooting.
James Graves, president of the Newport News Education Association, expressed dismay that school administrators had turned a blind eye to concerns raised by teachers.
“We want to know what happened so we can protect our members,” Graves told the Washington Post. “They believe and they know the administration should take their concerns more seriously than they did. This could have been prevented.”
Toscano echoed the sentiment during Wednesday’s press conference announcing Zwerner’s lawsuit against Newport News Public Schools arguing that the shooting was “entirely preventable.”
“Were they not so paralyzed by apathy they could have prevented this tragedy,” Toscano said.