Classroom brawl after teacher arm wrestles pupil

Arm wrestling has no place in the classroom. Picture: TSPL

Arm wrestling has no place in the classroom. Picture: TSPL

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A TEACHER’S ill-judged decision to arm wrestle a pupil ended in a classroom brawl and a police investigation.

John Watson, at Inveralmond High School, Livingston, agreed to the test of strength with the male youngster during a 20-minute lesson break for good behaviour.

The S3 pupil tried to avenge his defeat at the end of the lesson by grabbing Mr Watson’s tie and refusing to let go.

The maths teacher said he feared he would be strangled and pulled him on to a desk, resulting in a six-month suspension and a police probe.

A hearing of the General Teaching Council for Scotland in Edinburgh yesterday ruled that Mr Watson’s actions in March last year fell short of the standard expected, but ruled he was fit to teach and no sanction was imposed.

Mr Watson said: “The incident has change my life. I am now more aware and cautious at all times. I should not have permitted free time and allowed personal barriers to be crossed.”

Following the incident, police looked into charging him with assault, the hearing was told. The procurator fiscal ruled he would not be charged and he was given a written warning by West Lothian Council and transferred to another school.

Panel convener Dr Kerr Wilson said: “The evidence has shown that the respondent’s actions fell below that expected of a teacher. However, as this is an isolated incident that is unlikely to be repeated, the panel has decided that he is not impaired to teach.”