The rules for teachers disciplining students need another look, following the censure of a teacher who carried a struggling boy the principal's office, says a former principal who helped write the guidelines on how to manage bad behaviour.

Patrick Walsh said it's a tough job dealing with violent students in schools, but the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal was acting in accordance with the rules when it censured the teacher.

Walsh told Newstalk ZB's Larry Williams it's tough for teachers to make the right decision in the heat of the moment.

"Teachers ought not to use physical force, they ought to de-escalate the situation, but the fact and scenarios in each school are very complex and sometimes they throw up difficult cases. This is an example of one."

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Walsh said the incident warrants another look at the rules.

"I think when these cases happen it does cause us to reflect and I think the profession would like some more certainty on scenarios like this."

Walsh said the censured teacher had returned to England.

The boy who was carried to the principal's office was accused of hurting three classmates in the incident last year.

Three children had approached the teacher in a distressed state at lunchtime and said the boy had hurt them.

The teacher intervened several times to make sure the boy went to the principal's office, according to the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal.

The teacher first put his hand on the boy's shoulder and steered him in the right direction.

But when the boy grabbed hold of a bar and wouldn't move, the teacher prised his fingers free.

He then grabbed the boy around the waist with both arms and carried him to the principal.

The tribunal said the case was about the "inappropriate use of force against a student" and found the teacher guilty of misconduct.

It considered this was a "borderline case for serious misconduct" because the actions were not a "brief reaction" but a "sustained use of force".

The tribunal accepted that the use of force was not for bad effect or purpose and did not constitute physical abuse.

However, it noted that the teacher's conduct was likely to adversely affect the wellbeing of the student and also reflected adversely on his fitness to practice.

"In these circumstances, the tribunal did not find the teacher was guilty of serious misconduct, but agreed that the teacher's conduct did amount to a finding of misconduct," it said.