EAGLE MOUNTAIN — A Utah County gym teacher accused of getting physically violent with a high school student is now facing a felony charge.
Anthony Robbie Chidester, of Cedar Hills, was fired from his position at Rockwell Charter High School on April 18, the same day as the incident. Chidester was initially issued a citation for child abuse, a class A misdemeanor, but now faces one count of child abuse inflicting serious physical injury, a second-degree felony, according to charges filed Saturday in 4th District Court.
Surveillance footage from the confrontation shows Chidester, 40, holding the 14-year-old student by the shirt with both hands before slamming him into a wall, then throwing him onto the ground, police said. The conflict began when the student didn't put a basketball away when he was told to do so, charges state.
The footage also shows Chidester holding the student down on the ground with his knee and continuing to "violently push" him into the floor and wall, according to the charges. Other students in the class were eventually able to separate Chidester from the student, police said.
Officers who responded to the scene found bruising and redness on the student's chest, back, and arm; the student told police the marks came from the altercation with Chidester.
Chidester "readily acknowledged" to police that he had overreacted to the situation, Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said at the time.
"I allowed an incident of disrespect, bullying, teasing and insubordination from a student to escalate," Chidester said in a statement issued on the day of the altercation. "As an educator I have been bullied, I have been threaten(sic) 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."
He went on to say that students regularly "mocked" him and touched him without his consent.
"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," Chidester said. "I am completely heartbroken because have loved my opportunity to teach."