Mother Sentenced After 6-Year-Old Son Shoots Teacher

NEWPORT, VA – Deja Taylor, a 25-year-old mother from Virginia, has been sentenced to two years in prison following a tragic incident in which her six-year-old son brought her firearm to school and shot his first-grade teacher. This sentencing came after Taylor pleaded guilty to felony child neglect earlier this year. The court’s decision also includes a suspension of three years from her five-year sentence.

The shocking incident unfolded in a first-grade classroom at Richneck Elementary School. The child managed to smuggle his mother’s gun into the school premises and shot his teacher, Abigail Zwerner. The 25-year-old teacher was hit in the hand and chest, resulting in severe injuries, including broken bones and a punctured lung.

Taylor, who had been serving a 21-month sentence for a previous conviction, is now facing an additional two years of supervised probation following her release from prison. The terms of her probation include mandatory substance abuse treatment, parenting classes, and mental health treatment. These measures try to prevent the recurrence of such a devastating incident and ensure the safety and well-being of her son and others around him.

Interestingly, the boy, the primary actor in the incident, was not charged due to his age. However, reports indicate that he had shown violent tendencies at school before the shooting. These included choking a teacher and inappropriately touching a fellow student. Despite these incidents, on the day of the shooting, no guardian or parent was present with the boy. This was a clear violation of the requirement set by the school due to his behavioral issues.

In response to the traumatic event and the school’s alleged negligence, Zwerner has filed a lawsuit against the Newport News School Board, the school district’s superintendent, and the principal of Richneck Elementary. She alleges that the school administrators were aware of the child’s access to a gun and his violent history. Despite this knowledge, they failed to act appropriately to prevent the incident.

Zwerner, who has since stopped teaching due to the trauma of the incident, seeks a whopping $40 million from the school district. On the other hand, the district has attempted to dismiss the complaint but has not been successful. The case continues to be a matter of active litigation.

In the aftermath of the incident, Taylor’s son was placed under his great-grandfather’s care. He is receiving mental health care at a different school to provide him with a fresh start and the necessary support to overcome his behavioral issues.

The incident has had far-reaching consequences for the school district as well. It led to significant changes in the administration, with senior leadership, including the superintendent, being ousted in a 5-1 vote by the Newport News Public Schools school board.