A Utah County gym teacher accused of slamming a 14-year-old student into a wall has been charged with a second-degree felony.
According to a probable cause statement, the incident happened April 18 at Rockwell Charter High School in Eagle Mountain, where Anthony Robbie Chidester, 41, of Cedar Hills, taught physical education and health.
Chidester told the 14-year-old to put a basketball away, and when the boy didn’t do that quickly enough, the teacher got physical, according to the statement, filed Saturday in Utah’s 4th District Court.
Police said surveillance footage shows Chidester grabbing the boy’s shirt with both hands and slamming him into a wall. The footage also shows Chidester throwing the boy onto the floor, and holding him down with his knee. He then pushed the boy into the floor and into a wall with his hands, police said. Other students eventually separated Chidester and the boy, according to the statement.
Police took photographs of the boy’s injuries: bruising and redness in his upper chest and back, and dark bruising on his arm.
Chidester was cited in April with a class A misdemeanor child abuse immediately after the incident. He told The Salt Lake Tribune after the incident that the school fired him.
In a statement, Chidester previously 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.”
Chidester said in the April statement that he is threatened and bullied by students every day he works. Though that doesn’t excuse his behavior, he said he doesn’t “think people realize the conditions that we have to teach in."
A second-degree felony is punishable by 1 to 15 years in prison. His next court appearance is pending.