Teacher accused of striking 11-year-old boy at school

Taurean Branch charged with child abuse, assault
Posted at 11:37 PM, May 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-09 23:37:13-04

You never think when you drop your kids off at school, that they'll be hurt--especially by a teacher.  But that's what police say happened to one student from Waverly Elementary School Friday.

"I want to be able to know that my kid is safe and my cousins and my neighborhood children," parent, Sabrina Cotta, told ABC2 News.

The student is 11 years old.  Police say the teacher struck him in the midsection--it's not entirely clear what lead up to this.  It was caught on camera and now parents want answers.

"I don't even know what to say about that. That's uncalled for, like we should not have to worry about our teachers touching our children like that," Cotta said.

Taurean Branch is accused of assaulting the student and how this came to light may not be surprising.

"A cell phone video that showed a teacher, 29-year-old Taurean Branch striking an 11-year-old student," said T.J. Smith of the Baltimore Police Department.

Police say there were some issues prior to the incident and the student had been crying.  Investigators say the video clearly shows the teacher striking a student.

"We don't have any reason to believe there are any other victims of assault at the school but obviously in a scenario like this, if that is the case, we obviously want to hear from you," Smith said.

Some parents didn't even know about the situation until ABC2 told them about it.

"I feel like I should've gotten a letter or maybe a call should've went out or even a text message," parent Monet Lee said.

The incident happened Friday, police found out about it Monday and Branch turned himself in on Tuesday. Parents say they're going to be more vigilant.

"I'm not scared but I'm definitely going to keep my eye open.  I'm sad that it had to happen for that child. I'm sure they're pretty traumatized and the staff I'm sure they're upset," Lee said.

Branch is in custody and faces second degree child abuse and assault charges.