Mother charged months after 6-year-old boy shot teacher in elementary school classroom

On Monday, a Virginia grand jury indicted the mother of a 6-year-old boy who allegedly shot his teacher in January.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Deja Nicole Taylor, 25, has been charged with criminal child neglect and one count of misdemeanor for recklessly leaving a gun behind to endanger a child. Taylor’s son, who has not been publicly named or faces criminal charges, allegedly shot teacher Abigail Zwerner, 25, at Richneck Elementary School.

In addition to charging Taylor, prosecutors also asked a special grand jury to investigate any extenuating circumstances that may have contributed to the shooting. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that this may involve investigating school administrators.

According to the outlet, the boy was sitting at a desk within 10 feet of Zwerner, who was sitting at a reading table, when he raised the gun and opened fire. The ball is said to have passed through Zwerner’s left hand first before hitting it in the chest and shoulder. The bullet remains in his body today.

School documents said Zwerner emailed administrators throughout the school year about the boy’s reports and behavioral issues.

In late November, Zwerner allegedly wrote to then-director Briana Foster-Newton and then-assistant director Dr. Ebony Parker about incidents in which the boy stuck his middle finger to a classmate. class and ran into another student before knocking them to the ground. .

“As of today, I don’t feel comfortable with him coming back to my class today…” Zwerner reportedly wrote.

In a second email, Zwerner reportedly told them she had scheduled a meeting with the boy’s father to address “behavioral difficulties” and gain support for the boy.

A few weeks later, on January 6, the 6-year-old boy allegedly shot Zwerner while she was teaching 20 other students. The gun he used allegedly belonged to Taylor, who obtained it legally.

Superintendent George Parker III previously said “at least one administrator” knew of a possible weapon in the boy’s possession before the shooting. On the day of the shooting, the boy reportedly arrived late for school and his backpack was inspected at reception.

It remains unclear why the weapon was not located during this check.

Zwerner’s attorney, Diane Toscano, alleged that three teachers spoke to administrators about the boy’s behavior on the day of the shooting, including Zwerner. Zwerner allegedly told administrators that the student threatened to beat up a classmate. Later, another teacher allegedly told administrators that they had searched his backpack.

Although the gun was not located, this teacher reportedly stated that the gun may have been in the boy’s pocket.

According to Toscano, a third teacher informed administrators that the boy had brandished a gun during recess and threatened to shoot a classmate if he said so. The lawyer also claimed that another teacher had asked to search the boy, but the administrators denied the request because they wanted to “wait [out] the situation because the school day was almost over.

Earlier this month, Zwerner filed a $40 million lawsuit against the Newport News School Board and several school district officials for negligence and ignoring multiple warnings that the 6-year-old had a gun. fire.

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[Featured image: Abigail Zwerner/GoFundMe]

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