A former primary school principal who pinned a Year 6 student to the ground told a commission yesterday that it was a clumsy attempt to restrain the boy from hitting him or other children.
Steven Lockwood is appealing against the severity of penalties the Education Department imposed after it investigated three incidents involving different students at Nollamara primary school between 2011 and early last year.
He was reprimanded, fined and demoted to deputy principal at another school.
Mr Lockwood told the WA Industrial Relations Commission yesterday that he held a student down - the first time in his 24-year career - because of concerns for his and others' safety.
He said he put a hand on the boy's shoulder to calm him after a younger student claimed the Year 6 boy had threatened him.
The boy shrugged off his hand, swore loudly and turned to face him. "I felt that he was going to strike me," Mr Lockwood said.
He put a hand on each of the boy's shoulders, which only made him more agitated.
Realising he was losing control, he made the snap decision to knock the student's knees so he fell gently to the ground.
Mr Lockwood said after he lowered the boy he put a knee on his buttocks to stop him jumping up again and an arm across his back to stop him hurting himself by bashing his head on the ground.
"It was quite a clumsy restraint," he said. "I just didn't feel in control."
When the boy failed to respond to calming words, Mr Lockwood said he yelled at him to snap him out of his agitated state.
Mr Lockwood said in 2012 he used a clenched fist to tap a Year 7 boy on the shoulder for being disrespectful.
But he rejected a third allegation that he knocked a student off a chair because he was kicking cupboards.
The hearing continues.