Furious colleagues of teacher, 53, who ‘took her own life’ after being accused of ‘assaulting’ pupil while confiscating their phone blast council for lack of support – as her family say they are ‘completely devastated’
- Katherine Scouler, 53, was due to appear in court on Thursday over incident
- It is thought that the languages teacher accidentally caught a pupil’s hair
Colleagues of a respected teacher who is thought to have taken her own life after being accused of assaulting a pupil while confiscating their phone have blasted a council for their lack of support.
Mother-of-two Katherine Scouler, 53, was suspended from her role as a languages teacher at Hawick High School in October following a complaint made to police about an incident with a pupil.
It is believed the classroom incident happened as the languages teacher tried to confiscate a mobile phone from a pupil and accidentally caught the girl’s hair.
She was due to appear in court charged with assault on Thursday after reportedly attempting to confiscate a mobile phone from a pupil and accidentally catching the girl’s hair.
But colleagues are believed to have been ‘furious’ at what they say was a lack of support from her employer, Scottish Borders Council.
Katherine Scouler, 53, is thought to have taken her own life days before she was due to be tried for an alleged assault while taking a mobile phone off a pupil
It is believed the classroom incident happened as the languages teacher tried to confiscate a mobile phone from a pupil and accidentally caught the girl’s hair. Pictured: Hawick High School
It comes as her family gave a heartbreaking statement on Friday night.
They said: ‘Her sudden death has left us completely devastated. No words can express the sense of loss we feel about her passing.’
Locals described Mrs Scouler as a ‘pillar of the community’. She and her husband have two daughters, Jenny, 30, and Heather, 28, who are believed to live abroad.
Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said the union would not comment on the case ‘other than to express our sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Mrs Scouler’.
Mrs Scouler was seriously injured in an early-morning incident in her garden in Hawick, 50 miles south of Edinburgh, on February 4.
She was discovered by her husband Michael, a Church of Scotland minister and NHS chaplain, and was rushed to Borders General Hospital and then transferred to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where she died three days later.
She appeared at Jedburgh Sheriff Court on January 30 and denied pulling the girl’s hair and ‘striking her on the head’ with her hand.
Yesterday, the Crown Office confirmed there would be no further active proceedings against Mrs Scouler.
A spokesman said: ‘We have received a death report in relation to this individual. This brings any active proceedings against them to an end.’
Mrs Scouler, originally from Fenland in Cambridgeshire, met her husband when he was stationed nearby as a soldier with the Royal Highland Fusiliers.
Mrs Scouler was discovered by her husband Michael, a Church of Scotland minister and NHS chaplain who is pictured here giving a speech
In 2018, she gave a speech to the Bright Eyed Daughters, a local voluntary group, and spoke of Hawick being a ‘very special part of the world with very special people’.
She told how she met her husband in Cambridgeshire and joked that she had ‘bagged’ her ‘own Scotsman’. She started working at Hawick High School in 2015, and joined the town’s Saxhorn Band after learning the trombone.
Borders Council said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the death of Katherine Scouler. Our thoughts are with her family. Katherine was a valued member of the Hawick High School community. Arrangements are in place to support colleagues or pupils affected by this news.’
Last night Rachael Hamilton, Tory MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, paid tribute to her, saying: ‘My sincere sympathies go out to her family and friends.
‘As the local MSP, I understand the school and the community in Hawick are being supported.
‘While it is important that a full investigation is carried out into this matter, at this very sad time we must ensure her family and friends have the space to grieve the loss of a loved one.’
Mrs Scouler had been off work at Hawick High School (pictured) since October, having been suspended after a complaint was made to police about the incident with the pupil
A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said: ‘We received a call at 3.50am on February 4 to attend an incident at an address on the High Street, Hawick.
‘We dispatched two ambulances and a female patient was transported to the Borders General hospital.’
A Police Scotland spokesman said: ‘At around 3.55am on Saturday, February 4, police attended a concern for a person call at an address on High Street in Hawick.
‘A 53-year-old woman was taken to hospital following the incident. She subsequently died in hospital on Tuesday, February 7.
‘There are no suspicious circumstances and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.’
- For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org.
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