Posted on May 12, 2023

Mother of Six-Year-Old Boy Who Shot His Teacher Reveals What He Said to Her Days Before

Emma James, Daily Mail, May 10, 2023

The mother of a six-year-old boy who shot his teacher in the classroom says her son felt ‘ignored’ in the days before the incident.

Deja Taylor says her child had always ‘really liked’ Abby Zwerner, 25, but talked a lot in the week before the incident, saying that she ‘wasn’t listening’ to him.

He opened fire on his first-grade teacher on January 6 at Richneck Elementary School, in Virginia, and Zwerner has filed a $40million lawsuit against the school and district.

Abby Zwerner

Abby Zwerner

Speaking for the first time since the incident Taylor told Good Morning America that her son was suspended the week before the shooting for ‘knocking the phone’ out of his teacher’s hand ‘on accident.’

But Zwerner said that the child was ‘violent’ in the lawsuit, claiming that he ‘slammed the cellphone on the ground so hard that it cracked and shattered.’

Her lawsuit also states that the boy had a ‘history of random violence’ and that he ‘attacked students and teachers alike.’

Taylor described her son as a ‘great’ and ‘energetic kid’, claiming he doesn’t talk about the incident, but he does speak about the ‘day or two days before’.

She said: ‘He has ADHD. Some people have it mildly. He’s off the wall. Doesn’t sit still ever. He had started medication and he was meeting his goals academically.

‘He actually really liked her. I will say that week, he did come home and he was talking a lot about how he felt like he was being ignored.

‘He would come home, and say “Mom, I don’t think she was listening to me. I didn’t like that.”

‘He ended up getting suspended the next day because he was in class, he was trying to tell her something and she asked him to go sit back down.

‘He threw his arms up and said fine. When he put his arms up he knocked the phone out of her hand on accident. He got suspended for that. ‘

Lawyer for the family, James Ellenson, said that the school enrolled the boy with full knowledge of his past behaviors.

Ellenson said: ‘If they believed all of these behaviors to be true, then they should not have allowed him to advance to a higher level.

‘They should’ve put him back into kindergarten, possibly even pre-K, but at the minimum to kindergarten.’

He added that ‘no adult knows exactly how he got the gun’, with Taylor confirming the gun was bought legally and was kept locked away.

When asked if she felt responsible for the incident, Taylor said: ‘Yes, of course.

‘That is my son so I am, as a parent, I would be willing to take responsibility for him because he can’t take responsibility for himself.

‘I truly would like to apologize and that out of the incident, she did get hurt. We were kind of forming a relationship with me having to be in the classroom. She is a really bright person.’

The school reportedly told the family that they were no longer required to be present in the classroom, a request they made in the fall due to the boy’s behavior challenges.

Taylor has been charged with child neglect, a felony, and a misdemeanor count of recklessly leaving a firearm as to endanger a child. Her trial is set for August.

Zwerner’s lawsuit claims that Newport News School District and Richneck Elementary officials ignored multiple warnings about the student’s behavior, as well as concerns that he may have a gun.

Lawyers for the school board have filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming her injuries are covered under the state’s worker’s compensation law.

They claim that she was approved to receive the benefits, but she turned them down.

She was shot one, but the bullet pierced through her hand and into her chest, where fragments of it still remain.

Speaking in March Zwerner said that she ‘thought she was going to die’, and that she’ll ‘never forget’ the look on his face.

Zwerner said she still ‘can’t make sense’ of the shooting, but that her first thought when he pulled out his weapon was to ensure the other kids in the class were safe.

Talking to NBC’s TODAY show she said: ‘Some days I can’t get up out of bed, then some days are better than others, where I can make it to my appointments. I try to stay positive and have a positive outlook on what’s happened,’ she said.

‘There’s some things I’ll never forget and I just will never forget. The look on his face while he pointed the gun at me. It’s changed me. It’s changed my life. You can’t make sense of it. I’m not sure when the shock will ever go away.

‘The vivid memories that I have of that day… sometimes I have nightmares.’