Eaton Community College associate principal Grant Walton grateful to be back

Eaton Community College associate principal Grant Walton will return to work on Friday. Photo: Andrew Elstermann.
Eaton Community College associate principal Grant Walton will return to work on Friday. Photo: Andrew Elstermann.

Grant Walton has officially been reinstated as Eaton Community College's assistant principal.

Mr Walton released a statement this morning and said he would be returning to work today following the completion of the investigation into his conduct.

"I am deeply grateful to all of my supporters within the Eaton Community and at Eaton Community College," he said.

"I have been overwhelmed by their best wishes and support.

"I wish to thank a number of people, including the Senior Directors at the Department of Education and the Director General for her support. I also wish to thank the Union for their support."

Mr Walton said he was deeply grateful to the Bunbury Regional Education office for their continued support in particular throughout this whole process.

"Eaton Community College is an excellent school and full of great staff and students and it is a pleasure to be back," he said.

Department of Education Director General Lisa Rodgers formally announced the decision on Wednesday afternoon.

"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 [Tuesday, May 14], 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."

An incident, captured by mobile phones earlier this year, saw Mr Walton allegedly tackle a student to the ground.

Mr Walton was attempting to break up a fight, between two juveniles, at the time.

The Department of Education and WA Police both conducted inquiries into the altercation.

After Mr Walton was stood down pending investigation, a petition was then launched calling for the associate principal to return.

Spreading across social media, the petition received more than 6,700 signatures.

On Tuesday, parents and students came together outside the school to express their support for Mr Walton.

The event was covered by news outlets across Western Australia and the country.

Australind Police Senior Sergeant Mark Smith said the parents and students had all shown exemplary behaviour during the protest.

"They were voicing their support for the teacher concerned, and they did it in a very orderly manner," he said.

The group had planned to hold another event on Thursday.

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