I have heard all kinds of weird theories presented by lawyers but this one takes the cake. Abigail Zwerner is the Virginia teacher who was shot by one of her 6-year-old students back in January.
She is suing the school district for not heeding warnings about the student from the previous year and again on the day of the shooting.
School officials were told that the student had a gun, but they chose not to call the police, but rather to wait for the boy’s mother to come to the school.
While the school officials sat on their hind ends waiting for the boy’s mother, he shot Zwerner. She is suing the district for $40 million dollars for their neglect.
Maybe I’m strange, but it seems to me that once the school was warned that the boy had a gun, they were then obligated to call the police before he had a chance to use it.
But, the school’s lawyers see it differently. They are of the opinion that first-grade teachers know they are at risk of being shot, even when the shooter is a six-year-old and they are arguing she is only entitled to workman’s compensation.
That would mean the teacher would only get her medical bills paid for and only a portion of her salary also paid for by workman’s comp.
You could almost buy that excuse had the school not been warned multiple times on the day of the shooting or if they could produce a clause in their teaching contract that says teachers take on the risk of being shot by a first-grade student. Absent that, the school needs to take responsibility for its lack of action.
Today, the school district has filed a response to the lawsuit asking a judge to dismiss it on the grounds that Zwerner should accept workers compensation for her injuries.
The motion from the school district, which notes that Zwerner has so far refused to accept payment under Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Act, argues that the Newport News Circuit Court doesn’t have jurisdiction over the case because being shot by a first-grader is, essentially, a risk that all teachers take.
“One cannot assess the state today of education-based employment in the United States without paying attention to the problem of violence in its classroom,” the motion says, calling this an “unfortunate reality.” Although teachers today see themselves as “the first line of defense” when students attack each other, the motion says, “teachers themselves are common targets of violent behavior by students.”…
“Plaintiff was clearly injured while at work, at her place of employment, by a student in the classroom where she was a teacher, and during the school day,” the school board argues. “Teaching and supervising students in her first grade class was a core function of Plaintiff’s employment. Thus, Plaintiff’s injuries arose out of and in the course of her employment and fall under Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Act[.]”…
“Plaintiff was well-aware of John Doe’s history and behavioral challenges through her role as a teacher at Richneck Elementary School and a member of John Doe’s SST,” the motion says. “Educating John Doe through his behavioral evaluation and educational journey was squarely within Plaintiff’s job description. Thus, when John Doe acted out and injured Plaintiff during class on January 6, 2023, the resulting injuries fall under Workers’ Compensation.”
Ignorance makes my head explode. How about you?