LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A former Los Angeles elementary school teacher accused of placing a plastic bag over a student’s head in class for several seconds pleaded no contest Wednesday to one count of child abuse, authorities said.
Thelmo Garcia, 37, was ordered to attend weekly psychiatric counseling and complete Caltrans work, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.
The office reported in a news release that Garcia must also complete 52 weeks of child abuse counseling and is barred from teaching minors under the age of 18 while on probation for 5 years.
If Garcia completes all the required terms, his conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor when he returns for sentencing in two years, the office said.
If he fails to comply with the required conditions, however, authorities said he could face up to 6 years in prison.
The former LAUSD teacher, who taught the fourth grade at Rosewood Elementary School, was arrested in March, and according to District Attorney’s office, admitted to placing the bag over the student’s head during the Feb. 5th class.
The child was uninjured, authorities said.