/Protesters back country teacher stood down after trying to break up student fight

Protesters back country teacher stood down after trying to break up student fight

Updated

May 14, 2019 21:57:07

Parents and students are calling for a teacher to be reinstated after he was stood down after physically restraining a 14-year-old boy while trying to break up a school fight.

Key points:

  • The teacher, an associate principal, was filmed restraining the student during a brawl at Eaton Community College in March
  • Police investigated the incident and confirmed no charges would be laid
  • Parents and students have called for the teacher’s reinstatement, while the mother of the restrained child is awaiting an Education Department review

Teacher Grant Walton was stood down from his job at Eaton Community College, about 200 kilometres south of Perth, while the Education Department investigated his conduct following a brawl in March.

Footage has emerged on social media of a teacher, believed to be Mr Walton, holding the student from behind, kicking his leg out and holding him on the ground.

While police investigated the incident and confirmed no charges would be laid, Mr Walton could face disciplinary action if found guilty of wrongdoing by the department.

Parents protest outside school

Local woman Linda Bird organised a protest of about 40 parents and students outside the school, calling for the Education Department to reinstate Mr Walton and describing him as helpful and supportive.

“He’s always there to talk to the kids. They just think the world of him. He’s the biggest gentle giant I think anyone can come across,” she said.

Student Nathaniel Hughes spoke in support of the teacher and said while he had not seen the fight, he had heard varying accounts of what had happened.

“I believe there was reason for him to do what he did. I mean, nobody else stepped in so he took matters into his own hands,” he said.

“There is talk among students online of starting protests until he comes back.”

Mother of child facing backlash

Kylie, who does not want to be identified and who alleged Mr Walton assaulted her son, said she removed the 14-year-old from the school soon after the incident.

She said her son admitted to telling the teacher to “f**k off” but said he was a bystander rather than a participant in the fight with two other students.

“I’ve been run down as a parent, and my son’s been run down as a child. It’s been quite bullying,” she said.

“I just want people to let the department do what they need to do.”

Premier Mark McGowan said he had seen the video and described the students’ behaviour as unacceptable.

“Clearly it’s not easy being a teacher in the playground when there is misbehaviour. I hated seeing students shaping up to a teacher,” he said.

“I’ve asked that any investigation into this matter happen as soon as possible.”

Education Department support amid investigation

Director general of the Education Department Lisa Rodgers denied the teacher had been “hung out to dry”.

“We’ll always err on the side of caution and in favour of the child immediately after an incident,” she said.

“You saw part of a video, but there is a whole context around what happened.

“We would not be expecting our teachers to restrain a student in that regard, however there is a larger context. There are other matters to consider. And I will be considering those matters.”

Ms Rodgers said she would be making a decision on Mr Walton’s case by the end of the week.

Topics:

secondary-schools,

teachers,

assault,

eaton-6232,

bunbury-6230,

wa,

perth-6000,

busselton-6280,

australind-6233

First posted

May 14, 2019 18:24:50