A science teacher has been cleared of attempting to murder one of his pupils - sparking a debate about discipline in schools.
Peter Harvey, a teacher at All Saints' Roman Catholic School in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, admitted GBH without intent but was cleared of attempted murder and GBH with intent.
Harvey battered the 14-year-old pupil around the head with a dumbbell after he was taunted by the student while a friend filmed him with a camcorder.
A union leader has now said that schools should get tougher on the use of mobile technology in lessons.
Nottingham Crown Court heard that Harvey lost his temper after his class descended into "uproar".
The pupil in question was sword-fighting with a wooden metre stick and playing volleyball with bits of paper. When Harvey wrestled a Bunsen burner stand from the boy he was sworn at.
The court heard that this lit the "blue touch paper" and turned Harvey into a man "possessed".
The teacher apparently dragged the boy out of the classroom and took him into a storeroom where he picked up a dumbbell and hit the boy twice on the head.
The teenager was left with a fractured skull and has some hearing loss in his right ear following the incident.
However a jury took an hour to clear Harvey of the more serious charges, accepting his barrister's argument that he was not thinking rationally so could have not intended to seriously hurt or kill the boy.
There has been a lot of sympathy for the teacher, who will not now face jail as he has already served eight months in prison in the run-up to the trial.
Chris Keates, general secretary of the teachers' union the NASUWT, told AOL News: "The incident arose out of an explosive combination of events, a teacher who was in a fragile state of health and a group of pupils who recognised this and decided to exploit it.
"Once again inappropriate use of mobile technology in the hands of pupils raises its head and was a catalyst for a large part of the behaviour. Pupils were clearly playing to the camera."
There will be a lot of people out there who think that teachers ought to be allowed to batter unruly pupils anyway.
A quick glance at the Daily Mail website shows comments on this story such as: "You can thank the heart bleeding hand wringing left wing do-gooders for this. If they had not meddled in school and parental discipline, this case, and others like it, would have never happened."
What do you think? Is there a lack of discipline in schools? And is that to blame in this case?
Source: AOL News
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