Richard West, a physics teacher, was recently fired for accidentally shooting a student with a pellet gun.
West was teaching at St. Peter’s Collegiate in Wolverhampton when he decided to demonstrate an experiment in class using the pellet gun.
According to the Daily Mail, West was attempting to demonstrate the deceleration of a pellet as it passed through several sheets of paper. In order to accomplish this lesson, the teacher had 20 students volunteer to hold sheets of paper in a line over a group of desks. West shot the gun, but the pellet eventually hit a desk and deflected into the leg of 17-year-old Ben Barlow.
Word of the incident travelled quickly around the school and West was ultimately fired for gross misconduct. Despite the school’s negative reaction towards West, however, Barlow maintains that his teacher did nothing wrong.
“The bullet travelled through the first ten or 11 sheets; then it must have hit a desk below and cannoned into me. It was just a momentary pain, like when you walk into the corner of a table. I was left with just a scratch,” Barlow said.
West had worked at the school for 20 years prior to the pellet gun incident, and many students expressed their unhappiness with his dismissal.
“We’re infuriated about this and Mr. West has been humiliated,” said Barlow’s classmate Isabella Leadbeater.
Parents, on the other hand, were more concerned about West’s presence in the school.
“I can’t believe a teacher thought it was appropriate to take a gun into a school. Surely there are safer ways to do this experiment than taking a deadly weapon into the classroom?” one parent said.
In response to the incident, Barlow set up an online campaign to rehire his former teacher. According to the New York Daily News, the Facebook campaign ‘Bring Back Westy' already has over 1,000 supporters.