Pupils support sacked teacher who accidentally shot student

Students have started a Facebook campaign to reinstate Westy, their 'inspirational' physics teacher

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Students at a Wolverhampton school have started a campaign to support an ‘inspirational’ physics teacher who was sacked after accidentally shooting a pupil with a pellet gun during a science lesson.

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Richard West was sacked from his job at St Peter’s Collegiate School in Wolverhampton last week after a disciplinary hearing.

But present and former pupils – including the 17-year-old boy who was accidentally shot – are calling for Mr West to be given his job back. A Facebook group called Bring Back Westy already has more than 3000 members, and there’s also a petition for Mr West’s reinstatement with over 900 signatures.

It all started when one of Mr West’s physics experiments went wrong. 

“Mr West set up an experiment where he was going to shoot through paper into cardboard boxes at the end of the room to work out the speed of the bullet and its deceleration,” says pupil Ben Barlow, the boy who was shot.

“I’m not sure how it happened but the bullet must have rebounded off the table and it hit me on the leg. Everyone was really shocked but I was OK; you’d do more damage with a safety pin. It was a complete accident and Mr West was really worried and concerned.”

The teenager says he barely had a scratch after the incident and he has written to school governors to say so. “I feel guilty that my favourite teacher lost his job because of something that happened to me,” he says.

And today, on 5 Live’s Victoria Derbyshire radio show, former pupil Chris Jones said Mr West was an ‘inspirational’ teacher who didn’t deserve to lose his job.

“He always made physics fun,” he said, “and that can sometimes can be a very difficult task!”

A spokesperson for the school said: “A disciplinary hearing took place last week and a teacher was dismissed… It would be inappropriate to comment any further.”

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