LEWIS COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A teacher at Lewis County High School has been arrested after police said he put a student in a chokehold, held a paint scraper to the boy’s face, then slammed the juvenile into a podium.
The Hohenwald police chief said Robert “Scotty” Duncan, 48, was indicted by a grand jury Monday on charges of aggravated assault and child abuse.
Duncan, a teacher at Lewis County High School, was involved in “an altercation” with a student in his classroom on March 26, according to the chief.
A police report obtained by News 2 on Thursday details what the juvenile victim told officers about the incident.
The student said he had been “joking around” with Duncan “because it was fun.” Afterward, the boy said he walked up to Duncan’s desk, but before he could say anything, Duncan took out a paint scraper, put the student in a chokehold and held the paint scraper to the child’s face, threatening to cut him.
The juvenile said he grabbed Duncan’s hand to prevent himself from being cut. He explained Duncan pushed him into the podium, grabbed him by the hair and slammed his face into the podium, again putting the paint scraper to his face.
The student then went back to his desk, he explained. When class ended about 20 minutes later, the boy said Duncan told him to stay behind, then gave him a hug and asked for his forgiveness.
The police report states officers took statements from witnesses that “very closely matched” what the victim told investigators.
When Duncan was questioned by an officer, the report states he admitted to taking the paint scraper out, but claimed he threatened the student “as a joke.”
Duncan was booked into the Lewis County jail Wednesday night and later released on a $15,000 bond.
In a statement to News 2 Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson for Lewis County Schools said Duncan had been “suspended indefinitely” as of April 5 for “unprofessional conduct.”
“The decision to suspend Mr. Duncan was the result of an investigation of an incident that took place on March 26th, which was the day before spring break,” the statement continued. “It was determined that Mr. Duncan crossed the line of professionalism with a scuffle with a student in his classroom.”
Duncan was a teacher for 24 years, 17 of which were with Lewis County Schools, according to the district spokesperson.