A Gilbert Learning Center teacher has been placed on paid leave because of his "very concerning and unsettling" behavior that led other teachers to believe students could be injured.
Timothy Robbins, a language arts teacher hired in August at the alternative school for seventh through 12th grades, is accused of becoming angry and out of control in the classroom, calling students "stupid" and leaving students in the classroom repeatedly to go smoke, according to Gilbert Unified School District documents.
The district’s governing board unanimously voted Dec. 13 to place Robbins on paid leave and designate a hearing officer to investigate the claims if requested by Robbins within 30 days.
Robbins could not be reached for comment.
Governing board president Helen Hollands declined to comment, citing legal issues.
District documents state that in September, a teacher witnessed Robbins becoming "inappropriately angry and out of control with particular students" in his classroom.
The documents stated that he became "red in the face" and "hit (his) head repeatedly with (his) hands and shook with anger" when a student spilled a coffee pot in his classroom.
Also in September, he "violently tossed" an electric pencil sharpener into the trash can and "ripped the wires" from it, and he threw several broken globes from his classroom, documents state.
Students reported that while he was teaching he would "curse" and "yell at the students . . . (and) throw items in frustration, such as folders, pencils and erasers."
And "on numerous occasions, (he) told students they were being ‘stupid,’ or would call students ‘stupid,’ " documents state.
Records indicate that in mid- September Robbins asked another teacher to watch his class while he left campus to smoke a cigarette — due to a law banning tobacco on school property — but couldn’t leave because of locked gates. He then raised his voice at an employee passing by and said, "You have to open the gate right now," while he paced and punched his fist into his hand.
The school secretary also reported that Robbins appeared "very angry and emotional" in August when he was in the staff lounge getting coffee.
The documents state that he was "acting very erratically, rushing from one side of the room to the other," and saying: "I have to have some coffee and I have to have it right now."