(CNN) – The $40 million lawsuit that Newport News teacher Abigail Zwerner filed against the school board and administrators after she was shot by a 6-year-old student in a classroom earlier this year can move forward, a judge has ruled Virginia on Friday.
“This victory is an important milestone on our path to justice for Abby,” plaintiff attorneys Diane Toscano, Jeffrey Breit and Kevin Biniazan said in a statement.
“We are committed to continuing our pursuit of accountability and an equitable recovery. “No teacher expects to look down the barrel of a gun held by a six-year-old student,” the statement said.
The lawsuit stems from a Jan. 6 incident at Richneck Elementary School in which Zwerner was shot by the 6-year-old as she sat at her reading table in the classroom, CNN previously reported.
Zwerner, who was shot in the hand and chest, filed a lawsuit in April against Newport News Public Schools and its administration, claiming they ignored warning signs and were aware of the student’s “history of random violence.”
The school board then moved to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that the 25-year-old’s injuries “fall within the exclusive protection of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act,” CNN previously reported.
On Friday, Newport News District Court Judge Matthew Hoffman disagreed with the school board, saying Zwerner’s injuries “were not caused by her employment” and “are not covered by the exclusive provisions of workers’ compensation insurance.”
“The threat of being shot by a student is not something unique or unique to a first-grader’s work in a classroom,” Hoffman said.
The Newport News school board declined CNN’s request for comment.
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