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Thursday, 21 March, 2002, 16:23 GMT
Teacher sues after attack by pupil
Children in playground
The teacher says she cannot return to the classroom
A teacher left mentally scarred and unable to work after being attacked by a violent pupil is suing the London Borough of Newham.

Since the attack Judith Waugh , 53, of Coopers Close, Chigwell Row, Essex, has suffered severe psychiatric problems and was realistically unemployable, the High Court heard.

During the attack at the John F Kennedy special school in Stratford, east London in June 1998, the 14-year-old came behind Miss Waugh, covered her face with his hands and forced his nails in.

Miss Waugh claims the Borough of Newham, which denies liability, was negligent in allowing the boy to enter the school early without warning her he was "on the loose".

I can't have anyone around behind me. I get very anxious going into unknown buildings and rooms

Judith Waugh

The facial injuries she suffered were minor but since the incident the special needs teacher has had continuing problems.

She told Mr Justice Cooke: "I can't have anyone around behind me. I get very anxious going into unknown buildings and rooms."

The teenager, who had problems with vision and mobility, required constant attention and two classroom assistants were needed to manage him.

One of his teachers, who needed hospital treatment after he hit her on the nose, said: "If he can harm someone in any way, he will."

Miss Waugh's counsel Simon Dyer said: "He was known to be dangerous and therefore steps, reasonable steps, should have been taken by these defendants to ensure he did not attack Jude Waugh, or indeed anybody else."

The hearing, in London, is expected to last up to four days.

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See also:

20 Mar 02 | Education
One-a-day violence against teachers
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