WEST HOLLYWOOD—A former fourth-grade teacher at Rosewood Avenue Elementary School who pleaded no contest in August 2015 to a felony child abuse count for putting a plastic bag over a 10-year-old student’s head had the conviction reduced to a misdemeanor on Monday, August 14, officials said.
Thelmo Garcia, 39, reportedly completed weekly psychiatric and child-abuse counseling and performed 100 days of Caltrans work. He complied with all terms of his original probation as ordered by the court two years ago, allowing the possibility of a reduced conviction, according to reports. Failing to cooperate with the court’s orders could have landed Garcia up to six years in prison. On Monday, Garcia was sentenced to three years of summary probation, under the condition that he not teach minors under the age of 18 during those years.
On February 5, 2015, Garcia allegedly placed a plastic bag over a student’s head during class at the West Hollywood school. He removed it after several seconds, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The child was not injured during the incident. Reports indicated Garcia previously pulled children’s hair, gave high-fives while holding tacks, and threw staples at his students.
Garcia was removed from the campus following the February incident, prior to his off-campus arrest on March 11, 2015. He had been with the school district since 1999, and at Rosewood Avenue Elementary since 2011, according to reports.