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$40 million lawsuit filed by Virginia teacher who was shot by 6-year-old student can move forward, judge says

The $40 million lawsuit filed by Newport News teacher Abigail Zwerner against the school board and administrators after she was shot by a 6-year-old student in a classroom earlier this year may range from l ‘before, a Virginia judge ruled Friday.

“This victory is an important step on our path toward justice for Abby,” plaintiffs’ attorneys Diane Toscano, Jeffrey Breit and Kevin Biniazan said in a statement.

“We look forward to continuing our pursuit of accountability and a fair and equitable recovery.” No teacher expects to look down the barrel of a gun held by a six-year-old student,” the statement said.

The lawsuit stems from a Jan. 6 incident at Richneck Elementary School, where Zwerner was shot by the 6-year-old girl while she sat at her reading table in the classroom, CNN previously reported.

Zwerner, who was shot in the hand and chest, filed a lawsuit in April against Newport News Public Schools and their administrators, alleging they ignored warning signs and knew about student’s “history of random violence.”

The school board then moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the 25-year-old’s injuries “fell within the exclusive coverage of Virginia’s workers’ compensation law,” CNN previously reported.

Judge Matthew Hoffman of Newport News Circuit Court on Friday disagreed with the school board, saying that because Zwerner’s injuries “did not arise out of his employment,” they did not “fall under the exclusive provisions of workers’ compensation coverage.”

“The danger of being shot by a student is not particular or unique to a first-year teacher’s job in a classroom,” Hoffman said.

The Newport News school board declined a request for comment from CNN.

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