Tributes have been paid to a teacher who is thought to have taken her own life just days before she was due to be tried over an incident involving a student.
Katherine Scouler, 53, a languages teacher at Hawick High School in the Scottish borders, was due to appear in court on Thursday, but died the weekend before.
The mother-of-two is believed to have been involved in a classroom incident where she tried to confiscate a mobile phone from a pupil and accidentally caught the girl’s hair.
Colleagues are believed to have been ‘furious’ at what they say was a lack of support from her employer, Scottish Borders Council.
Her family last night said they were ‘devastated’ by her loss, and that ‘no words can express the sense of loss we feel about her passing.’
She was found by her husband Michael, a Church of Scotland minister and NHS chaplain, and was rushed to Borders General Hospital
Mrs Scouler was then transferred to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where she died three days later.
Mrs Scouler had been off work at Hawick High School since October, having been suspended after a complaint was made to police about the incident with the pupil.
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.’
Locals described Mrs Scouler as a ‘pillar of the community’. She and her husband have two daughters, Jenny, 30, and Heather, 28.
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.’
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.’
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