Former L.A. teacher pleads no contest to child abuse against student

A former Los Angeles Unified School District teacher pleaded no contest Wednesday to one count of child abuse after he put a plastic bag over a 10-year-old student’s head, authorities said.

Thelmo Garcia, 37, was ordered to complete 52 weeks of child abuse counseling and was placed on five years of probation during which he is prohibited from teaching anyone younger than 18, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

On Feb. 5, Garcia was teaching his fourth-grade class at Rosewood Elementary School when he put a plastic bag over a girl’s head. He removed the bag after several seconds and the child was not injured, prosecutors said.

If the terms of his plea are successfully completed, his conviction will be lowered to a misdemeanor, prosecutors said. If he violates his plea conditions, he could be sentenced to a maximum of six years in state prison.

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