“Abby (Zwerner) was released earlier this week from Riverside Regional Medical Center, a Riverside Health System facility in Newport News, VA,” a statement read, according to NewsNation affiliate WAVY. “She continues her recovery as an outpatient with the support of family, friends and health professionals. The Zwerner family respectfully asks for privacy during this time.”
Two weeks ago, police say a boy suddenly shot his teacher, Zwerner, 25. She still was able to get her students out of the room before being rushed to the hospital.
Now, the parents of the child accused of pulling the trigger have released a statement about what happened.
“Our son suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day,” the statement said.
However, the week of the shooting was the first week no parents were with the 6-year-old in class.
“Our family has always been committed to responsible gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the reach of children. The firearm our son accessed was secured,” the statement continued. The family’s lawyer says the gun was on a top shelf over 6 feet high, and had a lock that requires a key.
The 6-year-old’s family said the child has been under hospital care and is getting the treatment he needs.
An investigation is ongoing. No charges have been filed against the first grader or his parents, and given his age, it’s highly unlikely any will come.
Police say the school, Richneck Elementary, received a tip the day of the shooting that the boy had potentially brought a weapon to school, but his bag was searched, and nothing was found.
Now, parents and teachers are demanding better security.
“I want behaviors held accountable. I want change,” one teacher said. “I don’t want to have another family dinner where I talk about where my kids will hide in school. I would rather be discussing archery practice or the adventures of a fourth-grade safety patrol.”
Newport News uses metal detectors in middle and high schools. Now, metal detectors will be installed in its elementary schools.
In a message to Richneck Elementary families Thursday, Jan. 19, interim principal Karen Lynch said that while the school will continue to be closed, there is a date for students to begin transitioning back into the building, and that there would be an announcement on a start date next week.
NewsNation local affiliate WAVY contributed to this report.