A casual teacher may never work in a school again after he was sentenced for punching and pushing a student to the ground in a classroom incident that was filmed and went viral online.
Michael John Kable fronted Maitland Local Court in NSW on Friday when he was convicted and handed an 18-month good behaviour order after he was charged with common assault on March 21.
Defence solicitor Cameron Duncan told the court Kable had experienced "relentless abuse" at the hands of a few students when he was working at Maitland Grossmann High School earlier this year.
Mr Duncan said on that day, the 62-year-old casual teacher was asked to take on a class without a teaching plan.
When he went to collect the students from the basketball court, there were six that were being particularly difficult, Mr Duncan said.
"These students began running amok on the basketball court," he said.
Mr Duncan told the court the students, including the victim, had formed "a pack" in the classroom, pelting Kable with paper, pens and other objects for half an hour.
"At one point, a desk was thrown at Mr Kable," Mr Duncan said.
Kable "reacted quite shamefully" when he grabbed a student from behind by the collar, punched him in the head, and pushed him to the ground.
The court heard the victim suffered a sore head, but did not require medical attention.
Mr Duncan handed up a specialist report which indicated Kable was in a heightened state amid "relentless abuse".
"Had Mr Kable been given a bit more support from that school, it could have been avoided," Mr Duncan argued.
Mr Duncan pushed for Kable to receive a non-conviction and lengthy good behaviour order. He said Kable had a good record, had suffered severe anxiety after the incident, and was seeking help.
He handed up references, which said Kable was "an integral part of this school", and told the court how students had lined the street in support of the teacher when his matter was first mentioned.
Magistrate Ron Maiden said in all of the circumstances, the offending was serious enough that a criminal conviction had to be recorded.
"The offender is in a position of trust, and the victim is a vulnerable person, I have to take those things into account," he said.
Mr Maiden said he accepted Kable was remorseful, was unlikely to re-offend, and understood a conviction would stop him from being able to work as a teacher.
Defence plans to make an application for the charge to be dismissed under the mental health act were abandoned and Kable pleaded guilty.
Mr Duncan told the Newcastle Herald he planned to appeal against the severity of the sentence.
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