Bus driver: 'I never hit his son'

Ashkenaz Gill

November 19, 2010 9:50:56 AM PST
The Wake County school bus driver accused of slapping a 5-year-old student is sharing his side of the story.For the past week, Ashkenaz Gill has been waiting to learn his fate after a father of a Wake County Kindergartner accused Gill of slapping his son on the face on the way home from Wendell Elementary School earlier this month.

On Wednesday, Wake County Schools announced Gill resigned. However on Thursday, Gill told ABC11 Eyewitness News that he did not realize he was resigning from his job as a bus driver. He thought the paperwork he signed was for his termination, which means he cannot fight to get his job back.

Gill has three children and another one on the way. He says he wants his job back, but now he doesn't know what he's going to do.

"I never hit his son, because he was crawling under the seat, maybe he hurt from seats, somebody else, the other kids [sic]," Gill said.

Two weeks ago, Mark Tourscher told ABC11 said his son Cory's face was bright red that afternoon and still bruised three days later.

"Whole face was red, you could see where it's beet red," said Tourscher on Nov. 8. "I asked what happened and he burst out crying saying the bus driver hit him."

Tourscher said his son suffers from dyspraxia and admitted Cory and another child had been throwing apple sauce back and forth on the bus that day. He said his son told him that's when the driver pulled the bus over and hit him.

Gill has been on paid leave since the incident and on Wednesday, he says, he was called into HR to discuss what happened.

"They asked me so many questions," he said. "They put a lot of pressure on me."

After about 30 minutes, Gill says, he was told he was being fired --not for the alleged slap, but for stopping the bus to settle the children down.

"You were making unauthorized bus stops," Gill said he was told. "You shouldn't stop the bus, because that's not your assigned stop."

He says he was then handed a paper and told how to fill it out.

"Those you put no, no, and in the end, check others," Gill explained.

He signed the paper and says he left thinking he had been fired, but when he got home and showed it to his wife, they were shocked.

"I read it, I said, 'This is something like you are resigning,'" Rizwana Gill said. "This is not a termination letter, I was just shocked. I got actually mad at him, I said, 'Why did you sign this paper,' you know."

A spokesperson for the school district released a statement saying, "This is a confidential personnel matter. The individual did voluntarily resign. Wake County Public School System's practice is to provide individuals a fair process and time to ask questions as to what their options might be in different situations."

Gill says he didn't know what he was signing and feels he was tricked.

"I am upset, because I did not volunteer, why I gave a resign [sic]," Gill said. "I need my job."

Gill says he has a tough time with the English language and says he had requested that his wife be present in the meeting with HR, but he says his request was denied.

So far, no charges have been filed against Gill. The investigation is in the hands of the district attorney's office to determine whether there is enough evidence to file any charges against him.

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