Furious colleagues of teacher who ‘took her own life’

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Colleagues of a teacher who recently died after being accused of assaulting a pupil while confiscating their phone have blasted a council for their lack of support.  Katherine Scouler, who taught languages at Hawick High School died a few days before she was supposed to appear for a trial for allegedly assaulting a female pupil.

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.

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.

Scottish Borders council said: “Our thoughts are with her family. Katherine was a valued member of the Hawick High School community.’’

However, her colleagues are believed to have been “furious” at what they say was a lack of support from her employer, Scottish Borders Council, in the run-up.

They said: “Her sudden death has left us completely devastated. No words can express the sense of loss we feel about her passing.”

Mrs Scouler was described as a “pillar of community” by the locals who have known her for years.

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’.

She had appeared at Jedburgh Sheriff Court on January 30 and denied pulling the girl’s hair and ‘striking her on the head’ with her hand.

On Sunday, 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.”

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Mrs Scouler, originally from Fenland in Cambridgeshire, met her husband when he was stationed nearby as a soldier with the Royal Highland Fusiliers.

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.”

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.

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