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Wake bus driver accused of slapping kindergartner

Posted November 9, 2010
Updated November 10, 2010

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— A school bus driver for the Wake County Public School System was suspended Monday after claims that he slapped a special-needs kindergarten student last Friday.

Mark Tourscher says his 5-year-old son, Cory, and another special-needs child were playing on the bus from Wendell Elementary School Friday afternoon when his son threw applesauce at the other boy.

Tourscher says the driver pulled over on the side of the road, got out of the driver’s seat and slapped his son across the face.

“His whole face was just beet red,” Tourscher said. “I asked him what happened, and he burst out crying, saying that the bus driver hit him.”

He took photos of his son’s face, called 911, and operators referred him to the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.

“I was shocked,” Tourscher said. “I've never before heard of a bus driver hitting a child.”

The driver, Ashkenaz Gill, 38, has been suspended with pay, pending the results of internal and criminal investigations, Michael Evans, a spokesman for the school system, said.

Mark Tourscher Dad says bus driver slapped young son

“When anything like this happens, we take it very seriously, and we're going to move very quickly on it,” Evans said. “The allegations are disturbing, if nothing else, and we don’t want the bus drivers being portrayed negatively, because there’s a lot of great people out there doing a very difficult job.”

Gill denied the claim Tuesday evening, saying he has two children with special needs and would never hit a child.

He said he never saw any food being thrown and asked the boy to get back in his seat. He didn’t notice any injuries when dropped Cory off, he said.

"I never got a problem with the kids. You can ask my supervisor. You can ask the kids,” Gill said. “I love the kids. I play with them. I talk with them. I don't know how this happened.”

Tourscher said he believes his son.

“I absolutely think he needs to be terminated and criminal charges pursued,” Tourscher said. “There's no excuse for it. There's none. (Cory’s) 5.”

Cory has dyspraxia, a neurological condition that affects speech and motor skills, his father says, and his capacity to understand and learn is that of a 3-year-old.

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  • terrie Nov 10, 2010

    "Since all the cameras on these buses do not work,there is no way to see what goes on on a daily basis. When something as this comes up and your looking for answers there are none. WRAL and taxpayers should start asking questions of the transportation dept.and demand to know why it is that all the cameras are either broken or never working. "

    Budget cuts

  • As if .... Nov 10, 2010

    Since all the cameras on these buses do not work,there is no way to see what goes on on a daily basis. When something as this comes up and your looking for answers there are none. WRAL and taxpayers should start asking questions of the transportation dept.and demand to know why it is that all the cameras are either broken or never working.

    When was the last time anyone saw footage of inside a bus that was involved in an accident or trouble with students??

    We have seen footage of school bus cameras that work in other states right??

  • esprg Nov 10, 2010

    I bet he won't throw applesauce on the bus anymore... StopComplainingSoMuch"

    You're right about that:)
    BubbaDukeforPresident

    Agree w/both of you :)

  • saywhaaaaat Nov 10, 2010

    I understand that some of you want to say the bus driver didn't do this and that kids lie and all that... But like you are all saying bus drivers put up with ALOT with these kids on daily bases who's to say the bus driver was at his BREAKING point? All Im saying is I would believe my child and like (BubbaDukeforPresident) said buses should have cameras. LET US SEE THE VIDEO....

  • BubbaDukeforPresident Nov 10, 2010

    "I bet he won't throw applesauce on the bus anymore...
    StopComplainingSoMuch"

    You're right about that:)

  • BubbaDukeforPresident Nov 10, 2010

    Carrboroyouth - you're right. Kids don't have to be taught to lie - it comes naturally. The kid could have been slapped by another kid; so why ruin someone's reputation and livlihood without eyewitness testimony?

    Having said that, I've seen many kids throw tantrums in public and I've wished their parents would slap the snot out of them. If they're going to cry, give them a reason.

  • carrboroyouth Nov 10, 2010

    No offense, but kids tend to lie. A LOT. I think there needs to be more evidence to determine the truth.

    Busses have cameras, right? I'm sure we could see if the driver left the bus with the child on the footage.

  • iworkandpaytaxes Nov 10, 2010

    biguncfan ,how his wife know ? she was there when that happen ? nooo i dont believe her as her husband no way i do believe at any kids only not adult no way .. sorry
    misskatisha26
    November 10, 2010 11:20 a.m.
     Ignore  Report abuse

    Are you special needs?

  • xanadusnest Nov 10, 2010

    Every school bus driver is responsible for a very special cargo. I worked with a school bus system for 25 yrs. and can relate to the challenges a bus driver faces every day. Any child that can not act accordingly in a large capacity school bus with other children should either be escorted with a bus monitor on board or a special school bus route should be made for transportation to allow these special needed passengers access to all that is offered to every child. This I strongly agree to, but for a child, normal or special needs, to jeopardize the safety of all on the bus I disagree with. Children will act up on a bus..its guaranteed, but what proof does the school system have that the bus driver is the one that struck this child when the child so stated to his dad that he was playing with another child. There are more facts to this story than publicized and I feel for the bus driver whose career and profession is being questioned and jeopardized.

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Nov 10, 2010

    misskatisha speaking Wacka Flocka...

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