Wolters Elementary School: Fresno ex-principal charged with child abuse for assaulting 11-year-old autistic boy
Ann Frank, the boy's legal guardian, said that she got a call from Brian Vollhardt claiming the student assaulted him
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FRESNO, CALIFORNIA: A school principal, Brian Vollhardt, is charged with child abuse and endangerment after surveillance cameras shows the moment he violently shoved an 11-year-old special needs student who landed flying on the ground. In Vollhardt's defense, he claims the boy pressed his fist against him first during the incident.
Inside Wolters elementary school on June 7, Brian Vollhardt resigned amid a police investigation after allegedly shoving an autistic boy and taking a vice principal offer at another school. The video shows the moment, the 11-year-old boy points at Vollhardt and speaks with him in the school cafeteria along with two other staff members. As the boy was leaving, he returns and points at Vollhardt one more time before the principal suddenly pushes the boy in the chest, onto the ground. One of the staff members rushes to the boy's aid and Vollhardt can be seen pointing back toward the child and yelling at him.
The student's guardian condemned Vollhardt's actions and allegations against the boy who has autism and her lawyer will file a complaint against the district. Ann Frank, the boy's legal guardian who describes him as her son, told ABC 30 that she got a call from Vollhardt that day claiming the student assaulted him. Frank said it took more than three months for the tapes to confirm what her boy had told her, that it was Vollhardt who knocked him to the ground. Vollhardt who is specialized in handling students with autism resigned and took a vice principal job at the Tranquility High School after being suspended, but he has since been placed on leave. Fresno Unified School District Superintendent Bob Nelson called Vollhardt's actions 'repugnant,' and notified the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing about the incident. According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Vollhardt claims the boy was "getting in his face" and had made fists and pressed them against him, causing the man to shove the kid.
A principal in Fresno knocked down a special needs student. He quit the next day and is now vice principal in another school. pic.twitter.com/Y7mmtXL8s8— Eric Garcia (@EricG1247) September 8, 2022
"You cannot put force to these kids like that, my son is autistic. Any parents seeing this video, they know what I'm feeling right now." Frank said condemning Vollhardt's actions. "My son was pushed with force by this principal who was supposed to protect him. Who's to say how many other kids he's done this to?' Frank also condemned the district and police department's slow response to the three-month-old incident and has since hired an attorney. "Anybody looking at that video, they don't need three months to come to community and disclose what went on at this school," said Jason Bell of the Baradat& Paboojian firm. Bell said he will be filing an official government claim against the Fresno Unified School District as soon as Friday, September 9, which paves the way for a lawsuit. Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama said in a statement that he's disappointed that he did not see the video until earlier this week and is implementing changes to make sure violent misdemeanor charges are reviewed by a supervisor. Vollhardt is scheduled in court for arraignment later this month.