Page last updated at 20:49 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 21:49 UK

'Pupils abused' Mansfield school attack teacher

Peter Harvey
Peter Harvey was taunted by some pupils who had physically abused him

Peter Harvey inspired many of his pupils, one of whom described him in court as a "great teacher".

But in July 2009, Harvey snapped after years of taunts and abuse both inside and outside the classroom.

The 50-year-old science teacher was already annoyed at a pupil playing with window blinds at All Saints' Roman Catholic School in Mansfield, where Harvey had taught for 16 years.

But when a 14-year-old boy swore at him, the teacher picked up a 3kg (6.6lb) dumbbell and attacked the child with it.

In court, it was claimed he said "die, die, die" as he struck the boy on the head.

Harvey was cleared by a jury at Nottingham Crown Court of charges of attempted murder and grievous bodily harm with intent, but admitted a charge of causing grievous bodily harm without intent.

The incident that landed him in court came after years of abuse.

On one occasion the brother of a pupil he had reprimanded turned up at his house to threaten him.

Classroom
Trouble in the classroom led Harvey to attack

He was also assaulted by a student who pushed him into a bush when he confronted the pupil over the way he treated a female teacher.

On another occasion he was "shoved" by a disruptive pupil who had been put in his class after bad behaviour elsewhere.

The married father-of-two was was seen as anything but aggressive by nature.

He enjoyed singing and would regularly take part in school plays, including productions of Les Miserables and Bugsy Malone.

And he earned the admiration of many of those he taught, with one pupil describing him as "very well liked and respected".

But he was signed off sick for nearly five months and given counselling sessions by a therapist who told him he was too "peaceful and passive" and needed to let his anger out.

Harvey returned to work in April last year, and the class he was teaching when he struck out at the 14-year-old was supposed to be filled with some of the school's brighter pupils.

But it included students who had been repeatedly reprimanded for poor behaviour.

He dealt with one girl by telling her she could leave the classroom if she decided she was going to misbehave.

In the end, it was the regular misbehaviour, the abuse, the attacks which led the "peaceful and passive" teacher to court.



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