A bullet wasn’t going to stop 25-year-old Abigail Zwerner from putting her students’ safety first.

It’s no secret that teachers are unsung heroes. After all, they take on the daunting task of educating our children day in and day out — which is no easy feat.

But one teacher took her superhero status to a whole other level when she literally took a bullet AND still managed to get her class of first-graders to safety.

Six-Year-Old Student Shoots Elementary School Teacher

25-year-old Abigail Zwerner was teaching a routine class at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, VA when the terrifying incident occurred.

On January 6, one of her six-year-old students pulled a gun, aimed it at Zwerner’s chest, and fired. The bullet pierced Zwerner’s hand and lodged into her upper chest, knocking her to the ground.

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According to police officials, the child brought the pistol to school in his backpack. It was legally bought and registered to his mother.

Despite suffering a life-threatening gunshot wound, Zwerner’s first thought wasn’t saving herself. It was saving her kids.

Gunshot Victim Heroically Evacuates Classroom

Immediately after the shooting, Zwerner “screamed at her kids to run away.” However, she didn’t stop there. Though badly wounded, she somehow managed to get to her feet and ensured every last student had evacuated the classroom before finally stumbling down the hall in search of help. Her heroic actions were caught on the school’s surveillance cameras.

“I believe the teacher saved lives on Friday,” Newport News police chief Drew Scott said in a joint school board and police press conference.

“She made sure that every one of those kids was out of that room and she was the last one to leave.”

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It wasn’t until she was certain ALL of her students (who police estimated to be 20) were safely inside other classrooms that she finally turned her attention to herself. She staggered down to the school’s administration office and told staff to call 9-1-1 before collapsing, unconscious. Police quickly arrived on the scene and apprehended the shooter who was being restrained by another faculty member. Paramedics rushed Zwerner to the hospital in life-threatening condition. She is now stable and recovering from her injuries.

Zwerner’s students’ families and co-workers aren’t surprised by her selfless actions. They are merely a reflection of her strong devotion to her students. Gonzalez-Hernandez, the father of one of Zwerner’s students told the Daily Mail, “She is an amazing teacher, so dedicated. My son absolutely loves her, and we’re devastated about what’s happened.”

Teachers Really Are Superheroes

Her fellow co-workers echoed the sentiment. They praised her during a recent meeting with city officials, saying, “She’s a good teammate, she’s a team player, she loves her children, she’s just an all-around good teacher.”

And just in case you needed any further proof, authorities say that she has only asked them one question about the shooting, “Do you know how my students are?”

In putting her students’ lives before her own, Abigail Zwerner’s actions are a powerful testament to the strength of the bond between a teacher and her students.

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While most teachers won’t have to go to such extreme lengths to show their love and dedication for their students (thankfully) this tragic event certainly serves as a reminder of just how far a teacher will go.

So often, teachers go above and beyond the call of duty. Whether it’s providing extra guidance and support, sacrificing their personal time, or ensuring the safety and well-being of their students.

They truly are superheroes, each and every day, and deserve to be celebrated. Abigail Zwerner most of all.


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