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What we know about lawsuits being filed against NNPS in wake of Richneck shooting

In January, Newport News Public Schools received three separate letters of intent to sue. Here's what they say.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to clarify that the lawsuit intentions of two families of Richneck students are not new from what 13News Now previously reported this week. As of February 6, three parties, including Abby Zwerner, had filed notice of their intent to sue NNPS.

Three people are planning to file lawsuits against Newport News Public Schools in the aftermath of the Richneck Elementary School shooting on January 6.

According to documents 13News Now obtained via public records request from the school division, Newport News Public Schools recieved three separate claim notices, otherwise known as letters of intent to sue, in late January.

The first letter of intent was filed on January 24 on behalf of Abby Zwerner, the teacher who was shot by a 6-year-old student in her classroom while she was teaching.

In the letter, Zwerner's lawyer, Diane Toscano, laid out a detailed timeline of what happend at Richneck Elementary on the day of the shooting and accused school administrators of failing to act, disregarding safety concerns about the student by several school employees before the shooting. 

Toscano's letter specifically names Richneck's former assistant principal, Dr. Ebony Parker, as the administrator who was warned about the student having a gun at the school on the day of the shooting. The letter also describes a history of behavioral problems the boy had at the school. 

RELATED: Documents shed new light on Richneck Elementary shooter

The other two letters of intent were sent to the school division on January 30 by lawyers representing parents of Richneck students.

One details claims by the parents of a student who was present when the shooting happened and who “suffered emotional harm as a result,” according to the letter. The letter also claims that the student was “subjected to numerous incidents of bullying, harassment, assault, and battery during the 2022-23 school year in connection with enrollment and attendance at NNPS." 

The letter itself does not say that the student was bullied by the same child who shot Zwerner.

The third letter came from another attorney, who says she intends to sue on behalf of a student for "injuries sustained during a school shooting on January 6, 2023." The attorney did not elaborate further. 

Police have said that no children were physically harmed during the January 6 shooting.

The letters also call for the school district to preserve materials related to the schooting, such as photos, audio recordings, emails and other related documents.

None of the letters disclosed how much money the respective parties are seeking from Newport News Public Schools.

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