EAGLE MOUNTAIN — A charter school gym teacher was fired and escorted out of the school after an altercation with a student Thursday morning, officials said.
Anthony Robbie Chidester, 40, of Cedar Hills, was issued a summons to appear in 4th District Court on suspicion of child abuse, according to Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon. Darren Beck, the director of Rockwell Charter High School, said the teacher was abruptly fired after the incident.
The incident happened at the school, located at 3435 E. Stonebridge Lane. Deputies were dispatched to the school shortly after 9 a.m., Cannon said.
According to Cannon, Chidester had a disagreement with a 14-year-old student about instructions. At some point, the teacher put his hands around the student's neck and shoulders and pushed him against a wall and then threw the student to the floor and held him there, Cannon said.
Dillan Bunker was one of several students who witnessed the incident and said it all started when Chidester asked the student to put a basketball away after class.
"The teacher said 'give it to me' and he said 'I'm putting it away like you told me to,' and then he threw it in the closet where it goes," Bunker said.
Chidester then grabbed the student, put him against the wall and slammed him "several times," according to Bunker.
The student, an eighth grader, was upset about what happened, but otherwise OK, school officials said.
“The student is doing fine at this point — obviously upset, but fine,” Beck said.
School administrators asked Chidester to leave after the incident. A deputy went to interview him at his Cedar Hills home and he provided authorities with a written statement "where he acknowledged his actions," according to Cannon.
Chidester was in his second year at the school and the school had no previous problems with him, Beck said.
In a statement sent to KSL, Chidester said:
I am absolutely mortified by this experience and truly sorry for my actions. I am so sorry to the young man and his family and feel just gutted from this experience. I allowed an incident of disrespect, bullying, teasing and insubordination from a student to escalate. As an educator I have been bullied, I have been (threatened) with physical harm, told to 'F' off on a daily basis, teased that I am powerless, told that I am worthless, had balls and weights thrown at me. Students have touched my legs and pulled the hair out of my calves and filmed me while I taught and mocked me. Again this in no way excuses my behavior, and I truly am sorry for my actions, but I don't think people realize the conditions that we have to teach in. I am completely heart broken because have loved my opportunity to teach.
Contributing: Alexis Pineiro, KSL; Ashley Moser, KSL TV