A California teacher has been arrested for alleged child abuse.
Thelmo Garcia, a fourth grade teacher at Rosewood Elementary School on Croft Avenue in Los Angeles, was arrested on Wednesday, March 11, and is being held on $100,000 bail.
The Los Angeles Unified School District released a statement on Thursday, stating that Garcia had been arrested off campus on suspicion of abuse towards his students. Details regarding his arrest have been limited, however it was reported that he was removed from campus last month.
Denesee Pettway, a student’s parent, told KTLA5 that she finds Garcia’s arrest very alarming.
“We’re trusting our child to this teacher every day. Whatever was taking place in this classroom that prompted the children to be as uncomfortable as they were was definitely alarming.”
While some are shocked and saddened by Thelmo’s arrest, one student’s mother is relieved. Tara Siddiqi said that her daughter Tanya Siddiqi had confided in her some shocking details of the abuse the children were enduring at school. Tanya revealed that Garcia would pull the children’s hair, give high-fives while holding tacks in his hands, and throw staples at the students. Tara reportedly didn’t report the allegations because she thought Garcia was simply “joking around” with the children.
“I was surprised because I thought he was a good person,” said Rianna Laschev, who had Garcia as a teacher in the fourth grade. “I was crying and I felt bad for him.”
TEACHER ARREST: LAUSD says child abuse allegations against 4th grade teacher Thelmo Garcia are NOT sexual allegations pic.twitter.com/tTHvcHdNkl
— Marc Cota-Robles (@ABC7MarcCR) March 12, 2015
“We take these allegations very seriously. The District is fully cooperating with the LAPD investigation. Crisis intervention counselors are at the school today for any students who might be affected by the arrest,” a statement from the LAUSD read, according to NBC Los Angeles. Garcia’s profile on their website has already been taken down by the school.
According to an LAUSD spokeswoman, Garcia has been working within the school district since 1999 and with Rosewood Elementary since 2011.
This is not the first time that Garcia has been the center of a child abuse scandal. On February 5, Garcia allegedly placed a plastic bag over a 10-year-old girl’s head and did not remove it for several seconds, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Garcia was arraigned at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown L.A. on Friday, March 13. He pleaded not guilty. If he is convicted of the charges against him, Garcia could face up to six years in the state prison.
[Photo via Mugshots.com]