A teacher who was stood down from his job after physically restraining a 14-year-old boy while trying to break up a school fight is being allowed to return to work.
- Footage emerged on social media of Grant Walton restraining a student involved in a fight
- The teacher was stood down from his job, but the school community rallied behind him
- He is now allowed to return, but will receive further training in resolving student conflict
Grant Walton was stood down from his job at Eaton Community College, about 200 kilometres south of Perth, while the Department of Education investigated his conduct following a brawl in March.
Footage emerged on social media of 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 faced possible education department disciplinary action.
Not easy for teachers to ‘restore order’
WA’s director-general of education, Lisa Rodgers, said Mr Walton would be returning to his job, but would receive further training in managing student behaviour.
“I understand it’s not always easy for teachers, in the heat of the moment, to make decisions about how to restore order in a difficult situation,” she said.
“However, as I said yesterday, I would not recommend that teachers physically restrain students in the way we have seen in the video.
“After careful examination of all the facts presented to me, Mr Walton will return to his position at Eaton Community College.
“Mr Walton will be receiving further training in managing student conflict and anti-social behaviour.
“As I mentioned earlier in the week, the community has really gotten behind Mr Walton — and indeed the wider teaching profession — and I look forward to seeing him back at work.
“We now need to let him and the entire school get on with the business of teaching and learning, in the interests of students and everyone concerned.”
Linda Bird described the teacher as helpful and supportive. (ABC South West WA: Anthony Pancia )
School community rallies behind teacher
The director-general’s decision followed a protest on Tuesday of about 40 parents and students outside the school, calling for Mr Walton to be reinstated.
The gathering was organised by local woman Linda Bird, who described Mr Walton 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.
The mother of the boy who alleged Mr Walton assaulted him said she was forced to remove her son from the school soon after the incident after being bullied by other school community members.
Premier Mark McGowan watched the video of the incident and described the students’ behaviour as unacceptable.
He urged the Education Department to deal with the matter quickly.
Grant Walton has been cleared to return to his job at Eaton Community College. (ABC South West: Anthony Pancia )