Teacher who attacked pupil with dumbbell is sacked

Science teacher Peter Harvey in a class picture with pupils from All Saint's Roman Catholic School

A teacher who bludgeoned a disruptive teenage pupil with a dumbbell will be unable to receive his pension for 10 years after he was sacked yesterday.

Peter Harvey, 50, was this week spared jail and given a two-year community order after he admitted striking the 14-year-old boy who had repeatedly goaded him.

His union, the NASUWT, urged the school to allow him to retire on ill-health grounds rather than sack him so he could begin drawing on his pension immediately.

But Harvey, who has no income, has now been dismissed from his job as a science teacher at All Saints’ Roman Catholic School in Mansfield, Notts.

The union last night accused the school of a “lack of compassion” because the decision means he must now wait until he is 60 to access his pension.

Chris Keates, the union’s general secretary, said: “All those who have had any involvement in this case, including the jury and the judge, have been prepared to recognise that here was an exemplary teacher, in a fragile mental state, brought to breaking point by a number of critical failures on the part of his employer.

“He has suffered imprisonment, endured a harrowing trial and been convicted. His career is in ruins and he has no income. His wife and two school age children, all with their own health problems, have had their world turned upside down.

“How much punishment should one person be expected to take? The summary dismissal meted out today is further punishment. “His employers have not even allowed him to be dismissed with a period of notice and a modicum of dignity.”

Harvey, a teacher of more than 20 years, attacked the pupil during a class in July last year after he repeatedly goaded him and refused to behave.  The married father-of-two dragged him into an adjacent prep room and struck him twice over the head with a 3kg weight while shouting “die, die, die”.

He had recently returned to work at the school after four months off with depression. Knowing he was in a fragile mental state, he was deliberately picked on and teased by his pupils, who would then film him “losing the plot”.

Just prior to his assault he was seen muttering to himself and showing signs of extreme stress.   During the trial the court heard that his wife was suffering from long-term depression and one of his daughters was suffering from Asperger’s syndrome.

Harvey, from Mansfield, was cleared by jury at Nottingham Crown Court of attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. He admitted causing grievous bodily harm without intent.

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