Investigators say 57-year old Jackie Bennett - a teacher at J.W. Coon Elementary School - told them he was attempting a "therapeutic hold" on the 5-year-old student when it happened.
The student said she heard a cracking noise, and an examination by a physician at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center confirmed that the victim's right arm was broken.
Cumberland County school officials told ABC11 that a therapeutic hold is "a technique used by a school employee to restrain a child for a limited time in an attempt to calm a child and prevent them from harming themselves or others."
ABC11 spoke with the child's mother Thursday.
"There's no doubt about the fact that sometimes they have to restrain children. But, there shouldn't be a restraint that results in a broken arm," said Tarsha Gunn.
Gunn said her daughter was in a classroom for children with behavior problems.
Bennett has been with the district since 1995.
ABC11 attempted to talk with him about the incident at a court hearing Thursday afternoon. Bennett had no comment.
In the meantime, he's off the job.
"The Cumberland County schools have suspended the teacher with pay pending the outcome of an investigation," said district spokesperson Theresa Perry.
Bennett is charged with assault inflicting serious bodily injury and child abuse inflicting serious injury.