Teacher stabbed 8 years ago dies

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A former Richmond County special education teacher who was attacked by one of her pupils nearly eight years ago died Thursday.

Gail Hendrick was a Murphey Middle School teacher in 1999 when a pupil attacked her.  Special
Special
Gail Hendrick was a Murphey Middle School teacher in 1999 when a pupil attacked her.

Linda Gail Hendrick, 59, was pronounced dead at about 2:30 p.m. by a hospice nurse at her parents' home in west Augusta, Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten said.

Ms. Hendrick had remained in a coma since being severely beaten and stabbed by her 14-year-old pupil, David Drayton, on Nov. 22, 1999.

During testimony in Richmond County Juvenile Court in December 1999, Mr. Drayton admitted attacking his teacher, but never said why.

On Dec. 15, Mr. Drayton was convicted of aggravated assault and received a five-year sentence. After sentencing, District Attorney Danny Craig said Mr. Drayton could be charged with murder and tried as an adult in Superior Court if Ms. Hendrick died.

On Thursday night, Mr. Craig said he "could not comment" on whether Ms. Hendrick's death will prompt murder charges.

Mr. Tuten said he could not conclude whether Ms. Hendrick's injuries resulted in her death but was waiting for the results of an autopsy being performed Thursday night.

Mr. Craig said he visited Ms. Hendrick's home for most of Thursday afternoon, adding that "this a family of strong and faithful people. In times like this people like this are carried by their faith and love of community."

Since the attack, Ms. Hendrick's caretakers have been her elderly parents, Anola and Peter Hendrick. Ken Gordon, her former fianc, also has remained supportive, Mr. Craig said.

The attack against Ms. Hendrick occurred in a bathroom attached to her classroom at Murphey Middle School. The attack left the teacher to suffer from what Mr. Craig described as a lingering "traumatic brain injury."

She was stabbed 70 times with a pair of scissors.

In response to the devastating attack and short sentencing, the General Assembly passed the Gail Hendrick Law in 2000, giving juvenile judges authority to try juveniles as adults if older than 13.

Mr. Craig said the new law elevated aggravated battery, a crime that had been considered a misdemeanor, to felony status.

Reach Timothy Cox at (706) 823-3217 or tim.cox@augustachronicle.com.

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LMS2005
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LMS2005 06/01/07 - 04:56 am
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My heart goes out to the

My heart goes out to the family and friends of Ms. Hendrick. I hope that the your boy that did this will be charged, tried and sentenced for murder.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 06/01/07 - 06:13 am
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The boy, young man, is

The boy, young man, is capable of and willing to murder. He should not be allowed an opportunity to be a part of free society. Cage him for the rest of his life.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 06/01/07 - 06:13 am
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The boy, young man, is

The boy, young man, is capable of and willing to murder. He should not be allowed an opportunity to be a part of free society. Cage him for the rest of his life and quit mainstreaming special ed. students.

pantherluvcik
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pantherluvcik 06/01/07 - 06:36 am
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I remember this story and i

I remember this story and i think this boy was disabled mentally and in a wheelchair. Even if they do charge him with murder, they would probbaly have to charge him as a juvenile. Since he was at the time of the attack. I hope both families find peace in this situation, my heart goes out to everyone involved.

ListenAndLearn
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ListenAndLearn 06/01/07 - 06:57 am
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But for the world to hold the

But for the world to hold the unending, unimaginable love, strength and courage that Linda Gail's parents had; what a wonderful place this would be. God Bless all the caregivers she had over the years. And God Bless the child who is no longer a child who also has a family who suffered and is still suffering. Thankfulness is not being on the other side of the coin....because you do NOT know til you have been there.

ldsmith
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ldsmith 06/01/07 - 07:05 am
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Ms Thomas, I usually agree

Ms Thomas,

I usually agree with your posts, but as a special ed. teacher I have to question what mainstreaming has to do with this. This incident occured in the bathroom attached to Ms, Hendrix's classroom, not in a regular education setting.

I don't think that this is about special education students per se. It is about all students with violent tendencies, special ed. included. I have no way of knowing what this student's disciplinary record record was prior to this tragedy. Too many times, however, students with a history of violence and threats do wind up back in the classroom.

SPEDTeacher
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SPEDTeacher 06/01/07 - 08:02 am
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Ms. Thomas, coming from a

Ms. Thomas, coming from a special education teacher, mainstreaming or inclusion of students with special needs is fundamental to their development intellectually and socially. They are provided with the opportunity to be exposed and interact with typical peers. Ultimately, this makes them more productive citizens later in life when they are a part of society. Furthermore, this disheartening act took place in a special education classroom. Therefore, mainstreaming or inclusion is irrevelant to this situation.

amom
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amom 06/01/07 - 08:16 am
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She is in the arms of our

She is in the arms of our loved Savior.... the family is in my thoughts and what great parents she had... thank you for helping her.... love is a wonderful thing and so is the love of your God.....

debby
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debby 06/01/07 - 08:22 am
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It seems that Ms. Thomas has

It seems that Ms. Thomas has edited her original post since posts from SPED Teacher and Idsmith reference inclusion and mainstreaming. I too am a special education teacher. Inclusion is a must. Sp. ed. students need to be exposed to students who tend to act better than those in self-contained classrooms. I have taught in a self-contained middle school classroom for 3 years, and in an inclusion setting for 2 years. Students in self-contained settings generally have much worse behavior than those who are included in the general school population.

Chuchi
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Chuchi 06/01/07 - 08:29 am
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The young man was not

The young man was not mentally disabled. He had spina bifida. He was a large, strong young man who used a wheelchair but was nevertheless able to corner Gail Hendrick in the class' bathroom, beat her, and stab her 70 times with the handiest tool available, which in this case was a pair of scissors. I understand that her ear was severed (or nearly severed), which should give some indication of the savagery of the attack. At the time there was some speculation that sexual assault was his motive, and when she resisted he chose a different way to harm her. Autopsy results aside, Gail Hendrick is dead now as a direct result of this young man's actions. I don't see how he could avoid being indicted by a grand jury in the near future. I do pity his family, though; I know how I would feel if he were my relative. Nobody ever feels sorry for the murderer's family, and they suffer as much as the victim's family does.

hidingoutagain
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hidingoutagain 06/01/07 - 08:40 am
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Even if a child is in special

Even if a child is in special education for physically disabilities, he/she still falls under the label of being “Special Ed.” It was my understanding this child was receiving special education services due to his physical disability. I do not think that he was intellectually disabled. I think this is one of those “It will never happen to me” situations. Candice, being reminded of the details of the incident is not necessary. I do understand and agree, however, this is a sensitive matter. We, as special education teachers, need to let this horrid experience be an eye opener of what our youth are capable of and do as Ms. Hendrick did daily for her students by providing them the best possible education and pray that we reach them socially and academically. She was an awesome teacher who touched the lives of many young people. God bless the family and you are in my prayers.

ShelbyJones
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ShelbyJones 06/01/07 - 08:56 am
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Regardless if he was "special

Regardless if he was "special education" or not, he commited an act of violence that took a life that was there to help him. She took the path to help "people" like him who the school systems will classify as "special" even if they are not because they do not want to be bothered with their defiant behavior. Most kids have defiant behavior because they are allowed to have this behavior and get away with a slap on the wrist. Back when I went to school, and even to college, you did not have "special" classes unless you were actually MR. I hope that he is charged with murder and is punished to the full extent of the law. I know that sounds mean but these elderly people have had to care for their "brain dead" daughter for years. It's time that people pay for their crimes.

hidingoutagain
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hidingoutagain 06/01/07 - 09:14 am
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I made the comment about him

I made the comment about him being in special educaiton with the intentions of defending the program and the students with special needs. This incident gave the students with special needs and speical educaiton program a bad view in the eyes of the public. This young man was fully aware of his doings. I agree that the consequences should be a result of his actions and the outcome.

my2sense
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my2sense 06/01/07 - 09:16 am
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CandiceB- I feel like you

CandiceB- I feel like you took the words right out of my mind. I have sympathy for both families and all that are involved and I will definitely will be praying for them. However, this animal took a human life ragardless of his mental and physical handicaps and he should pay. Through the years, I have wondered how Ms. Hendrick was doing. Dedicated teachers (especially special needs teacher) are a rare find and I hate this lady had to give her life because she chose to be a teacher. I applaud all of you teachers and please be careful because its crazy in the classroom, whether mainstream or isolated.

Augusta Mom
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Augusta Mom 06/01/07 - 09:37 am
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Gail and her family are

Gail and her family are members of my church. It is such as shame that this happened.....

tchnga
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tchnga 06/01/07 - 09:57 am
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Being both a special

Being both a special education teacher and a friend/co-worker of her fiance Ken, let us put aside the "special ed" debate and try to focus on the important issue which is Gail and her family. Keep them in our hearts and prayers because this is obviously an issue that is not going to go away anytime soon, especially if legal issues continue. They are going to have to relive the past 8 years in front of the media and the city. Please give them the kindness and support you would wish in this difficult and trying time.

butterflygina
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butterflygina 06/01/07 - 09:58 am
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Until I am finally a teacher,

Until I am finally a teacher, I can only comment that when I worked as sub in a classroom where special education students were included, I could barely teach. I also worked as a paraprofessional with a classroom that had about seven special education students, it didn't work. There needed to be 3 teachers in that classroom. This all may have had to do with the age, these were elementary students. None the less, this is a true tragedy. Can someone enlighten me? I am almost positive that back when this happened inclusion was not a componet and during this time, were students placed in special education if they had a physical disability but no other disabilities? Children disclipinary consequences differ from most others if they have an IEP.

CATLOVER
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CATLOVER 06/01/07 - 10:49 am
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fry the scum bag

fry the scum bag

AmericanRose
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AmericanRose 06/01/07 - 11:01 am
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My heart goes out to the

My heart goes out to the family of Linda Gail Hendrick, for their loss. I hope they can find peace and assurance she is now in God's hands. She will never suffer again. I also want to say that she was so lucky to have someone in her life like Mr. Ken Gordon. He is also suffering the lost of someone he loved deeply and never gave up on. God be with you all and you are in my prayers.

Anja
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Anja 06/01/07 - 11:14 am
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My prayers and thoughts go

My prayers and thoughts go out to Gail's family, Ken and his family.
May God bless you all.

happythoughts
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happythoughts 06/01/07 - 11:17 am
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Aggravated assault and only

Aggravated assault and only five years. He did try to kill her that day didn't he. Maybe he should have been punished for killing her brain.

ANNOITED1
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ANNOITED1 06/01/07 - 11:27 am
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CANDICEB & iii1301 my heart

CANDICEB & iii1301 my heart do go out to both families but the school system doesn't put mentally challeged students in special ed if there is no need they wouldn't have had him in special ed just because he has spina bifida so there was a problem and we don't know the whole story because Ms. HENDRICK was never able to tell us all we know is what he did and it was wrong but was there something that happen to set him off. May GOD bless both families and we know he will do right what he see fit in his eye

PFLY775
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PFLY775 06/01/07 - 11:47 am
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Stabbed 70 times! They call

Stabbed 70 times! They call that "aggravated assault"? Sounds like attempted murder. I'm suprised she held on this long. My thoughts and prayers go out to all concerned.

blondi1
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blondi1 06/01/07 - 11:48 am
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I think he should pay for

I think he should pay for what he has done. He should be locked away forever. He knowningly took the life of a highly respected teacher that is hard to find in that field. It is so hard for me to phathom that he may not be charged only because he is "retarded". Give me a break! He did the crime, HE needs to do the time! People need to stop pittying these animals. They are people too and they have brains. My condolences go out to Ms. Hendricks family!

PFLY775
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PFLY775 06/01/07 - 12:00 pm
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fathom

fathom

he-motions
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he-motions 06/01/07 - 12:05 pm
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so many of you are forgetting

so many of you are forgetting he was a 14 year old kid, with a handicapp. noone knows why the act was committed but it is convienient for all of you to judge him and say that he should be charged with murder. the kid spent five years locked up, we have adult who committ just as serious offenses and they are out in a couple years, , this youth could have been rehablitated while locked up, and he served enough time. Plus you are passing judgement and do not know the child and what kind of kid he was. he never had any prior history of violence before this incident occured , and never had a discipline history documented in school. So the question should be what in the world happened for a kid that was known as a good child to snap and committ a violent offense like that. no one will know but David, Mrs. Hendricks, and God. Judge not lest though be judged, none of you are angels, we all have skeletons in our closets.

Frank
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Frank 06/01/07 - 12:05 pm
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Unforturnately, even if the

Unforturnately, even if the cause of death was directly related to the stabbings, he cannot be tried as an adult for murder. If death is a direct result of the original crime which occurred while he was still a minor he will be tried as such. The crime led to the change in the law and he cannot be tried under a law established post facto.

he-motions
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he-motions 06/01/07 - 12:08 pm
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blondi1 you sound like the

blondi1 you sound like the racist b%&*& you might be. if he is a animal, that make you a female poodle

scarletohara
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scarletohara 06/01/07 - 12:16 pm
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Why do "special ed" students

Why do "special ed" students and other mentally disabled think they should have all the rights and privledges of living in free society without having full responsibility for their actions? They shouldn't have it both ways!!

t of i
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t of i 06/01/07 - 12:28 pm
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he-motions, I have reread

he-motions, I have reread blondi1's post several times. Where on earth are you getting the racist accusation from? From your post at 12:08 I cannot help but glean that you have trouble controlling your "he-motions." Maybe that's why you are so sympathetic to this person. So he had 5 years of anger management training....we can all rest easy that he won't snap again.

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