Virginia principal was not informed 6-year-old had a gun before shooting, lawyer says
The former principal of Richneck Elementary School, where a 6-year-old intentionally shot a teacher last month in Newport News, Virginia, was not informed that the student had a gun at school, according to her lawyer, despite allegations that administrators were warned the day of the shooting.
Briana Foster Newton, the principal, was removed from her position and will be reassigned within the district, according to her lawyer, Pamela Branch.
"It continues to be reported that unidentified school administrators were aware that the 6-year-old student had a gun at school on Jan. 6, and simply failed to act. Mrs. Newton has been assumed to have been one of those administrators. However, this is far from the truth," Branch said at a press conference Thursday.
MORE: Teacher shot by 6-year-old says school was warned 4 times, announces lawsuit
Branch said Newton was not told that the student potentially or definitively had a gun at school on the day of the incident.
"Those who were aware that the student may have had a gun on the premises that day did not report this to Mrs. Newton at all," Branch added.
Branch told reporters Newton has been receiving "threatening voicemails wishing her ill [and] has also been the subject of misinformed social media posts," since the shooting.
"It is very easy to demonize people you don't know when in the midst of an obviously upsetting and traumatic situation for everyone," Branch said, telling reporters that Newton is not who she has been portrayed to be.
The teacher, Abigail Zwerner, was shot in the chest and rushed to the hospital in critical condition. She is now home recovering from her injuries.
MORE: Virginia school shooting: 6-year-old brought gun in backpack, fired during instruction
Zwerner announced she will be filing a lawsuit against the school board, alleging the shooting could have been prevented by school administrators who were warned about the student on the day of the shooting.
Diane Toscano, Zwerner's lawyer, alleged that the administration was warned four times by teachers and school employees about the student. There were three warnings from school employees about the gun and a warning from Zwerner about the student threatening to harm another child, Toscano alleged.
A bullet remains lodged in Zwerner body, according to Toscano.
This was Newton's first year as principal at Richneck Elementary after she was an educator for 11 years. She had been an assistant principal at Richneck for six years.
After the incident, the 6-year-old was admitted to a medical facility for treatment. Police interviewed the boy and his mother after the shooting and determined the gun was legally purchased by the boy's mother.
ABC News' Beatrice Peterson contributed to this report.
Virginia principal was not informed 6-year-old had a gun before shooting, lawyer says originally appeared on abcnews.go.com