NORTH SMITHFIELD — Liane Jalette, North Smithfield resident and former School Committee member here, says she has always been passionate about teaching.
“I loved what I did, and that’s all I’ve done for 25 years, you know, coaching, teaching, and to be told that you’re never gonna do that again, that was, that was hard,” she said.
It was October of 2018 when a student in a Massachusetts school where Jalette worked as an administrator strangled, hit, and kicked her. Jalette, who was wearing pink that day in support of breast cancer awareness, says she suffered a traumatic brain injury, post-concussion syndrome, PTSD, thoracic disc herniations, permanent nerve damage, and more. She says she suffers daily from headaches, numbness, pins and needles, dizziness and serious balance issues. She adds that she recently fell down the stairs and broke her foot.
Jalette says now she can only vacuum one room of her house, never mind walk down a flight of stairs without getting dizzy. She and her husband no longer go on the walks they once did.
“It’s been a long journey,” she said.
Last week, Jalette found out that her worker’s compensation benefits were reduced to 45 percent of her salary.
“That’s $1,600 a month that we are not going to receive, which is our mortgage payment,” she said.
Her daughter, Elizabeth Jalette, has set up a GoFundMe fundraiser on behalf of her mother.
“Our mom is our hero and has shown us that women can be anything they want to be in life,” she wrote. “Mom was always there to pick us up when we fell, and now it’s our turn to pick her up.”
She added, “Four years ago today, our mom went to work doing what she loved, working with children and preparing them for the future. She has always had a passion for helping others and wanting to make a difference. Our mom comes from a family of educators (and now I join the line as an educator); teaching is a big part of who we are. She has been changing the world one student at a time for 25 years. Now is the time for us to unite together and give back to her.”
Jalette, who has worked in public and private schools in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for 25 years, said her whole family has been hurt by the aftermath of the attack, particularly has court proceedings over the matter have dragged on for four years.
“I know it’s had an impact, but it’s had more of an impact and affected them more than what I’ve imagined,” said Jalette. She adds that her youngest daughter has been working hard to save every penny she earns to contribute.
The fundraiser was just shy of $4,000 as of early this week.
“I’ve never never thought we would be in this position,” said Jalette.
Over the past four years, said her family, she has endured countless medical appointments: psychotherapy, CT scans, physical therapy, cortisone injections, facet injections, ablations, speech therapy, vestibular therapy, MRIs, X-Rays, and so much more, all while always putting her family first. Doctors have recommended some specific treatment options, but worker’s compensation doesn’t cover those treatments. Donations will help her be able to pay for the treatments and unpaid bills.
Jalette said it’s important that educators get the support they need. This incident was completely random, she said, and she wasn’t targeted.
“Educators need more support, and we need to do more for mental health,” she said.
Her family said educators across the country are enduring and expected to do so much more than ever before.
“Awareness for the countless assaults educators across our nation are facing, like our mom, is happening at an alarming rate. It must stop,” they said. “Maybe raising awareness of what happened to our mom will help others to speak out and get the support they need. At the very least, please share this story, my family’s story, my mom’s story.”
Find the fundraiser for Jalette by searching “educator assaulted by a student & needs our help!” on GoFundMe.