Eaton Community College associate principal Grant Walton cleared to return to school after investigation

Headshot of Bethany Hiatt
Bethany HiattThe West Australian
VideoAssociate principal Grant Walton was stood down by the school following the altercation as an investigation into the incident continues.

The deputy principal at the centre of an investigation into the way he handled a student while trying to break up a fight will go back to work today.

Eaton Community College associate principal Grant Walton was stood aside from his job after the incident in March.

Video footage showed him restraining a 13-year-old student by pinning him to the ground.

Mr Walton can be seen trying to restrain the student before the teen squares up to the teacher.
Camera IconMr Walton can be seen trying to restrain the student before the teen squares up to the teacher. Credit: SUPPLIED

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Education Department director-general Lisa Rodgers said she had concluded the investigation and looked forward to seeing Mr Walton back at work.

She did not reveal whether she had imposed any sanctions.

“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.” Ms Rogers said in a statement.

“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.”

Following the release of video footage on social media of Mr Walton pinning a 13-year-old boy to the ground, before the teen squares up to Mr Walton with fists raised - there has been growing outrage about his suspension.

VideoMembers of the Eaton Eaton community have started a petition for associate principal Grant Walton to be reinstated.

Parents and students have rallied at Eaton Community College, near Bunbury, and thousands of people have signed a petition calling for him to be reinstated.

Ms Rogers added that his return to school would benefit all those concerned.

“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.”

Prior to the investigations end, concerns had been raised by the State School Teachers Union about Mr Walton’s welfare as he awaited the outcome.

“He is obviously stressed and anxious about his future,” union president Pat Byrne said.

“He is very appreciative... of the support he has received and I think that reflects the respect in which he’s held at the school.”

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