Teaching has changed over the years as our nation has. I grew up in an era when I wouldn’t have once considered talking back to a teacher, let alone attacking one. I was no angel, yet the very thought of a teacher calling my parents if I misbehaved was enough to keep me in line. Plus, I respected my elders in general.
That time has faded. Misbehavior and lack of respect have evolved into a more serious situation.
A 2022 survey reported 40% of school districts had at least one teacher physically assaulted or attacked by a student. Our client and friend Leslie is one of those. Born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Leslie was the youngest of five children. The family moved to Minnesota where her mom was a supervisor at General Electric and her dad was a factory manager. Growing up, she enjoyed sports, fishing, camping, and hiking. She worked for Bonanza Restaurant while in high school.
A graduate of Ohio State University, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Leslie taught graphic design for nearly 20 years in Columbus public schools. While on duty period, she was assaulted by a student who slammed a 6-foot-long heavy transition gate into her right knee, immediately buckling it.
An initial arthroscopic surgery followed by a total knee replacement actually resulted in more problems. Because of postoperative nerve injury related to tourniquet compression, Leslie has been left with persistent swelling, foot drop, and a lifetime of severe pain. At first, she was able to use a walker, but now, Leslie has lost the use of her right leg. Amputation has been considered, but her doctors want to try a dorsal root ganglion stimulator as a regular spinal stimulator provided no relief.
Robert, Leslie’s husband of 38 years, was also a teacher, but he quit his job to take care of her. He knows she is in pain all the time. Family and friends find it hard to see Leslie this way, as she had been so vibrant.
Client Wins Compensation From Assault Injuries at Work
I wish Leslie’s story had a happier ending. While we’ve been with our friend from the beginning and got compensation for her loss of limb use and for permanent total disability, no amount of money can compensate for the impact a thoughtless act has had on Leslie’s life and the lives of her family. Leslie’s faith in God is real and sustains her in suffering. We pray the ganglion stimulator and advances in medical treatment will provide relief.