A Shooting Injuring a Teacher Advances calls for Gun Control

On January 6th, 2023, a 6-year-old student in Virginia shot and wounded his teacher, after bringing a loaded gun to school. School staff was warned multiple times that the boy may have a gun, yet ignored these messages, which ultimately led to a wounded teacher and a myriad of traumatized children. The teacher, Abigail Zwerner, is currently recovering and was discharged from hospice care last week. The Superintendent of the Virginia school, George Parker has also been fired, as he and his team could have easily prevented the shooting. 

At 12:30 pm on the day of the shooting, a teacher searched the student’s backpack believing he may be in possession of a firearm. The gun was never found, however, she told a school official that the boy may have hidden the gun in his pocket. The official responded to this serious warning by saying that the boy has “little pockets,” and “couldn’t be hiding a gun in there.” At 1:00 pm, a different teacher reported that the boy had shown a fellow student the gun, and threatened to shoot his friend if he “told a teacher.” At around 2:00 pm, while in class, the boy pointed the gun at Abigail Zwerner. Zwerner bravely told her students to leave the classroom before being shot, even with the knowledge that this could lead to her death.

The boy’s parents have made a statement saying that their child struggles with an “acute disability,” and that he infrequently attends school without a parent present. On the day of the shooting, he was at school alone. Police issued a statement saying that the boy’s family had legally purchased the gun, and claimed that the weapon was “secured.” 

The boy who perpetrated this crime is distinguished from other school shooters by his young age, but, according to the Sandy Hook Promise website, his story is otherwise similar to the 68% of school shootings committed with a gun taken from home or loved ones. Of the 4.6 million children in America who live with a loaded and unsecured gun, he was one of the nearly half that, despite their parents’ beliefs, know where that weapon is stored.