Police: Largo teacher Thomas Farmer charged with child abuse

LARGO, Fla. - A Largo teacher is charged with child abuse after he encouraged a student to punish another student who refused to stop playing cards, according to a police statement.

Police say the incident occurred on May 30 at Largo High School.

A school resource officer was summoned to the bus area where he found a student disoriented and in need of medical attention. The student was taken to the hospital with head injuries.

The officer investigated and learned the boy had been in an altercation and put in a choke hold.

According to the statement, it began in a Technical Arts classroom on the next to last day of school.  A group of students, police say, were playing cards and the teacher, Thomas Farmer, asked them to stop.

He then said if they did not stop, he would have another student, known to practice martial arts, to physically make them stop.

According to the statement, the students did not put the cards away and the martial arts student was allowed to choke one of them at the teacher's suggestion.

The student was choked and was in distress.  Instead of stopping it, the teacher instructed the victim to "Tap Out."

The victim passed out and hit his head. At the end of class, police say, the teacher instructed other students to help the victim onto a school bus.

The driver and other students summoned the resource officer. After receiving medical attention, the victim recovered.

The results of the investigation were turned over to the State Attorney's Office.

On Wednesday, Farmer, 44, was arrested for child abuse and jailed.  Farmer resigned his position earlier this month. He was released from jail on $10,000 bond, according to jail records.

The 16-year-old boy who allegedly choked the victim faces battery charges.


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