BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Baltimore city teacher is in trouble with the law, after he’s caught on video allegedly assaulting a student at Waverly Elementary/Middle School and it was captured on cell phone video.
The school’s parent teacher organization announced it will be holding a meeting Wednesday, May 10, at 8 a.m., on the issue.
The PTO said in a statement that it will bring together concerned parents and members of the school community to demand a radical change to the school’s climate and culture, and improved communication with district leadership.
“The PTO and school supporters will gather to demand that the district radically improve the climate and culture of the school, and communicate with parents and PTO leadership in a transparent manner,” said PTO President Joseph Kane II in a statement.
Police say the male teacher struck the student as seen in cell phone video. School police responded to the incident Friday before Baltimore police began investigating Monday.
Police spokesman T.J. Smith says 29-year-old Taurean Branch, struck the student in the midsection in the video.
“I know the student was apparently crying before this incident took place and the video shows the teacher striking the student,” says Smith.
Smith says the student was crying and “banging” on the desk before he was struck and that there was a substance on the floor that needed to be cleaned up.
Many parents don’t agree what should happen to the teacher.
“There’s no excuse for any adult to put their hands on a child that doesn’t belong to them,” Rodney McMillan said.
Police couldn’t confirm who took the video but acknowledge that there’s a possibility a student recorded the incident.
The student was treated at a local hospital and released.
Parents are surprised by what happened but say Branch deserves a second chance.
“He’s an excellent teacher and these kids get away with murder. The school system doesn’t have control of the kids and it’s absolutely disgusting the way they let these kids do what they want to do,” one person said.
“It might have gone too far but at the same time Mr. Branch is a very nice teacher and very nice guy,” said parent Lisa Avery.
Police have charged Branch with second-degree custodial child abuse and assault.
Branch turned himself in on Tuesday.
Police don’t believe there are any other victims who’ve been assaulted and will not release the footage.
There’s no word if the student has returned to school.
This story will be updated as information becomes available.