SAN ANGELO, TX – A teacher at Trinity Lutheran Early Childhood Center was arrested Tuesday after police say she assaulted one of her four-year-old students.
According to court documents, on Mar. 30, a sargent at the San Angelo Police Department was contacted regarding an assault that allegedly happened at the Trinity Lutheran Early Childhood Center the week prior.
The officer learned, while talking to the victim's mother, that her four-year-old child had been unlawfully punished while at school. The mother claims that she found out after an unusual conversation between herself and her child's teacher, 26-year-old Justice Thomas.
Phone records confirmed that Thomas had called and left a voicemail with the child's mother. In the voicemail Thomas spoke about the child's behavior in class. When the mother talked to Thomas later that day Thomas had no recollection of the phone call.
The mother then went to administration at Trinity Lutheran Early Childhood Center. She told them about the voicemail and that she believed her child had been assaulted. She demanded to see the classroom's surveillance video but was denied access by the school. They instead ensured her that they made a report with CPS.
The officer then went to the school to see what was on the tape. The officer watched the video of what happened in the classroom that day. The video started in the early part of the day. While students were taking tests Thomas is seen on video yelling at the child. Later in the video Thomas is heard telling the child that law enforcement was going to arrest her and put her in jail.
The child is then seen throwing a pencil case. Thomas is seen walking around her desk and pushing the child to the ground. She then grabbed the child, forcefully picked the child back up, and shoved the pencil case into the child's torso.
Thomas then took the child into the hallway. Officers claim that while in the hallway, leading to the door of the classroom, Thomas grabbed the child by the right arm and forcefully jerked and pulled the child back to the main area of the classroom. During this engagement the child can be seen on video swinging in the air.
The video continued by showing Thomas telling the child to "go" and the child walking their desk while holding their right arm. Thomas then commanded the child to get into the classroom closet. While in the closet the door was shut and the lights were turned off. The child was left in the closet for around forty seconds. After her time was up, Thomas opened the door and continued to yell at the child.
"At one point it sounds as though Thomas hits the child however it is not seen what occurs because the door to the closet is blocking the view," states the affidavit. "It should be noted during the entire incident it is obvious that the child is scared, crying, screaming for her parents, and pleading with Thomas."
The affidavit continues by stating that there were 12 other students in the classroom that witnessed the event.
Police spoke with the child who told them that Thomas had said mean things to her. She also told officers that Thomas had hurt her arm by pinching it and hurt her face by hitting it.
Thomas was then interviewed. She claims that she remembered parts of the day but did not remember assaulting the child. She also said that she believed that she had some type of medical issue that cause her memory loss and aggressive behavior. Police checked her medical records and found no evidence that would negate Thomas' mental state.
Thomas was then arrested and charged with injury to a child by knowingly and intentionally causing bodily injury. She was booked into the Tom Green County Detention Facility on Apr. 13 at 3:53 p.m. She was released the following day after posting a $5,000 surety bond.