After-school daycare employee fired after punching 9-year-old in face

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Credit: WJZY

A Burke County after-school daycare employee has been fired after a 9-year-old boy in his care says the man punched him in the face.

Jeffrey Hyler tells FOX 46 Charlotte that he still has bruises on his neck and wrist from when a worker at Icard Elementary School, Crawford Lionel Ellis, hit him in the face and he fell Monday.

"I threw a weed behind me and when it went behind me, it went beside this guy's [Ellis] foot," Hyler said. "He said, 'throw another and I'll hit you.' I said, 'you can't hit us.' He said come here and I walked up there and he punched me in the face."

Ellis, 49, was fired from Burke County Public Schools and and charged with assault on a child under 12. However, FOX 46 Charlotte uncovered court records that show the charge against Ellis has been dismissed.

The assistant district attorney would not say why the charges were dismissed, but paperwork indicates that Ellis will face a new charge in the case.

Officials with Burke County Public Schools say there is no video of the incident. Parents say they're concerned about the allegations.

"I mean, I would feel bad for his parents, and I would hope it wouldn't happen to mine because it it did, I don't know what I would do," said David Keyng, a parent of a student who attends Icard Elementary. 

Jeffrey says he told the principal and school resource officer what happened.

Robin: "Do you know why Ellis allegedly hit you?"

Jeffrey: "He said he had a rough weekend, that he needed something to hit. That don't mean you hit a 9-year-old though."

Ellis' neighbor, Roger Craft, says the alleged incident is out of character for the 49-year-old.

"I know he ain't no bad guy," he said. "I ain't never seen him argue at nobody, I never seen him get mad at nobody and I been knowing him for quite a few years now."

Burke County Public Schools released the following statement to FOX 46 Charlotte:

"On the afternoon of Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, Burke County Public Schools conducted an internal investigation following reports that a child in the after school program at Icard Elementary School had been struck by a worker. Law enforcement immediately investigated the report and Burke County Public Schools has fully cooperated with their investigation. Part-time day care worker Crawford Lionel Ellis was immediately terminated. Parents were informed of the incident. Hitting a child is never acceptable at Burke County Public Schools. We take the wellbeing and safety of our students very seriously and will not tolerate such behavior."