Principal who was suspended for tackling a student to break up a fight is reinstated after thousands of outraged supporters demanded he was given his job back
- Grant Walton has been reinstated after an outcry from parents and supporters
- Mr Walton pinned one 13-year-old to the ground during the fight
- He said he would try to calm the situation verbally next time
- Mr Walton has 30 years teaching experience
A deputy principal suspended for pinning down a student while breaking up a brawl has been reinstated after an outpouring of support, but says next time he would use words to calm tension before intervening.
Grant Walton, from Eaton Community College near Bunbury in West Australian, was suspended after footage of the March incident circulated on the internet.
The decision sparked controversy and attracted more than 7000 signatures on a Change.org petition demanding the suspension be lifted.
The teacher has now been reinstated by the WA Education Department and will be back at work on Thursday.
‘I’m really, really happy to be going back to work. This is where I want to be,’ he told Today.
When asked if he would handle things differently in future, he said he would try to calm the situation and use verbal prompts to try to stop a fight from escalating.
‘I certainly agree with the Director-General that intervening in a fight physically is a last resort,’ Mr Walton said.
‘We are here to do a job and keep people safe. If it comes up where I’m in a situation where somebody requires that level of assistance, of course, you do.
‘But on the whole, you do what the training tells you to do, which is to try and calm the situation,’
Mr Walton, who has 30 years teaching experience, said he was aware he was being filmed when he intervened in the playground fight between two teen boys.
He pinned one 13-year-old to the ground but when the boy was released he challenged Mr Walton with his fists.
‘I even asked a staff member to film the event. I was completely conscious of the fact that it was being filmed,’ he said.
WA Education Department Director General Lisa Rodgers said he would receive extra training.
‘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,’ she said in a statement.
Supporters of the Mr Walton praised the move and said it was a good step forward for common sense.
‘Glad the education department did the right thing and supported their staff,’ one person said.
‘Best outcome for Mr Walton, the students and the community,’ said another.
‘Common sense has prevailed,’ one person commented.
Mr Walton said that violence was obviously a last resort but said his job is to keep people safe