Elementary School Principal Shoves Special Needs Student To The Ground
A former Central California elementary school principal is facing charges of cruelty to a minor after a video of him shoving a student to the ground went public.
In the video, former Wolters Elementary School Principal Brian Vollhardt is seen shoving a student in the chest with such force that the child fell to the ground on June 7 in Fresno, California.
According to the Fresno Unified School District, Vollhardt and other staff members were speaking with a special needs student who was agitated, and the principal chose to “aggressively shove the student down” instead of “de-escalating the situation.”
The school district initiated disciplinary actions against Vollhardt, but he chose to resign and is no longer employed by the school.
School District Superintendent Bob Nelson called Vollhardt’s actions “repugnant” and “absolutely not tolerated at any level within Fresno Unified.”
The incident was reported to the police, as well as Child Protective Services, according to the school district.
Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama said that although a report was filed two days after the incident, he was not made aware of it until September 6, nearly three months after it occurred.
“I can tell you as a police chief in this community, I have a real problem as to the way that this child was treated. As a parent of a 9-year-old kid, which is a very similar age to the victim in this case and who also suffers from anxiety and doesn’t always handle situations in the best way, it is troubling as to how somebody who is supposed to protect this child and provide support, treated them,” Balderrama said.
Vollhardt is scheduled to be arraigned on a misdemeanor charge of willful cruelty to a minor on September 26th.