School worker accused of punching 9-year-old boy in face

October 12, 2017 02:02 PM

(WCNC) A North Carolina after-school program employee has been arrested for allegedly punching a 9-year-old boy in the face with his fist.

Burke County Sheriff's Office says 49-year-old Lionel Ellis was arrested Tuesday in Hickory and is being charged with assault on a child under 12.

According to Burke County Public School officials, Ellis has been an employee since 2005 and was given a background check at the time of hire. Most recently, Ellis worked as an after-school daycare employee at Icard Elementary School.

The boy, whose name we're withholding, is a fourth-grade student at the school and attends the after-school program. He said he and other after-school students were picking weeds out of the school garden and planting new flowers Monday afternoon when he threw a weed past Ellis.

"It went beside him and he said, 'throw another one and I'll punch you.' And I said, 'you can't punch us' and he said, 'come here,' and he hit me and knocked me backward," said the boy. 

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