A former Eagle Mountain teacher pleaded guilty on Monday to shoving an eighth-grade student against a wall and injuring him during gym class earlier this year.
In May, prosecutors filed a second-degree felony charge of child abuse against Anthony Robbie Chidester, 41.
The Cedar Hills resident entered a plea in abeyance in 4th District Court and Judge Kraig Powell canceled the jury trial scheduled for this week.
“I just want to apologize to anyone involved in this case, particularly I want to apologize to the victim and his family,” Chidester said on Monday. “I made a horrible mistake I’ve regretted every second of every day since.”
The judge ordered Chidester to have no contact with the student, as well as complete an anger management class and 100 hours of community service.
If he does not complete the requirements, he could face up to 15 years in prison for the felony charge, according to Utah County deputy attorney Craig Johnson.
Chidester worked as a PE teacher at Rockwell Charter High School when the incident occurred in April, court documents state.
During a morning class, a 14-year-old student reportedly refused to follow Chidester’s instructions to put away a basketball.
“The situation escalated and became physical,” charges state. “Surveillance footage shows the defendant holding (the student) with both hands by the shirt and slamming (the student) into the wall.”
Chidester then reportedly threw the student to the ground and used his knee and hands to push the student into the floor.
“Other students were able to separate the parties,” charges state, and several recorded the incident using cellphones.
Officers responded to the school and determined the student had bruising and redness on his chest, back and arm.
“That’s when the adult needs to be the adult in the room and he wasn’t,” Johnson said.
Administrators asked Chidester to leave the building, and school director Darren Beck later issued a formal statement noting the teacher was fired.
Both the student and his mother attended the court hearing and declined to comment on the case.
“She appreciates the closure this has brought their family,” Johnson said.
If Chidester completes the abeyance requirements and does not commit further crimes in the next two years, the charge will be reduced to class A misdemeanor on his record.