Assaulted teacher receives £70,000 compensation

A teacher who worked with special needs students has been awarded over £70,000 compensation for her personal injury claim against the council she worked for.

Teresa McCarthy was repeatedly attacked by one of her pupils when she worked at Drummond School in Inverness between June and September 2001. The school is for children with additional support needs.

Mrs McCarthy, aged 52, quit her job at the school after the fourth attack in which the pupil, punched and pulled her hair. In previous assaults the boy who is autistic and cannot be named for legal reasons, punched, kicked and scratched Mrs McCarthy.

She left her job and was no longer able to carry on with her work in the education sector, after the attacks left her suffering from nightmares and panic attacks, as well as a lack of confidence and depression.

She filed her personal injury compensation claim against Highland Council, stating that they had failed in their duty of care to protect her.

Mrs McCarthy was supported in her claim by her teaching union, Educational Institute of Scotland, (EIS).

Highland branch secretary Andy Stewart said: “It should not be the case that children who have a history of violence are simply accepted in class where they are liable to repeat violence. It should not be accepted that it is a special school and therefore you have to put up with it”

After a 17-day long hearing, Sheriff Alan Miller ruled that Highland Council had failed in their duty to protect Mrs McCarthy and ordered them to pay her a total of £71,158 damages. That included £10,000 compensation and £46,778; the remainder is interest which would have accrued on the amount since the incident.

Mrs McCarthy said after the hearing: “I am delighted with the outcome.” She no longer works in the education sector and has now retrained as a nurse.

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