British teacher escapes jail term for pupil attack
A British teacher who bludgeoned a troublesome pupil while shouting "die, die, die" was on Monday spared a prison sentence, as a judge called him a "thoroughly decent man" who was temporarily stressed.
Peter Harvey, 50, attacked the 14-year-old boy at a school in Mansfield, central England, after chasing him around the classroom when he started misbehaving during a science lesson last July.
The pupil was found by paramedics unconscious in a pool of blood at the entrance to a classroom. The boy was left with a fractured right temple bone and severe cuts to his head, the court heard.
Harvey was found not guilty of attempted murder and intending to cause serious injury but admitted one count of grievous bodily harm without intent.
He was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court to a two-year community order, which typically combines punishments such as unpaid work, curfews and exclusions with rehabilitative requirements.
Harvey, a married father of two, hit the boy with a three-kilogramme dumbbell while yelling "die, die, die".
"On any view this is a tragic case," judge Michael Stokes said.
"You are a thoroughly decent man and for well over 20 years you have been a dedicated and successful school teacher."
The incident was triggered by a combination of factors, "producing in you a quite disproportionate reaction to misbehaviour, abuse and rank disobedience by him and some of his classmates," the judge said.
"In previous years you would have handled this easily and professionally but in July of last year you were far from well. You were undoubtedly suffering from depression, stress and a serious lack of confidence."
It emerged during the four-day trial that pupils were trying to antagonise Harvey so his reaction could be secretly filmed and passed around the school as a way of "humiliating" the teacher.
© 2010 AFP