A West Australian associate principal suspended after pinning down a student while breaking up a violent brawl says he’d try to approach the situation differently if it happened again.
Grant Walton, from Eaton Community College near Bunbury, was suspended after footage of the March incident circulated on the internet.
The much-loved teacher has now been reinstated by the WA Education Department and will be back at work on Thursday after parents spoke out in support.
“I’m really really happy to be going back to work. This is where I want to be,” he told Nine’s Today Program.
Asked if he would handle things differently in future, Mr Walton 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,” said Mr Walton, who has 30 years experience in the education sector.
“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,”
He also said he was aware he was being filmed when he intervened in the playground fight between two teen boys and pinned one 13-year-old to the ground.
The boy was released and then 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.