FRESNO, CA – A former elementary school principal out of Fresno was charged earlier in September following the release of surveillance video showing the principal shoving a purportedly special needs student to the ground during some sort of altercation this past June.
While the background information and overall context are unknown to the general public regarding an incident that occurred between then-Wolters Elementary School Principle Brian Vollhardt and a student this past June, what played out on the surveillance video from the abovementioned incident attracted a near-uniform condemnation from all who’ve seen the footage.
In the footage from the June 7th incident, Vollhardt appears to be engaged in some kind of emotional/heated interaction with a student, as the unnamed child begins jamming his finger in Vollhardt’s face and almost seems to square up in a sense – with the child posturing his body in a manner universally understood as someone prepping for a physical altercation.
The child then appears to raise both of his hands towards Vollhardt’s midsection, performing some kind of motion that suggests Vollhardt may have been lightly nudged near the waist or abdomen by the child.
With the absence of audio from the surveillance camera, there’s not much to go on as to what sort of verbal exchange accompanied this encounter.
Immediately after Vollhardt appeared to be nudged, the now-former principal delivered a single-hand shove to the boy’s upper chest that sent the child falling to the ground.
Sometime after the June 7th incident, Vollhardt reportedly resigned from Wolters Elementary School, only later to be onboarded as a vice principal at Tranquillity High School in the Golden Plains Unified School District. Apparently, the new school was oblivious to the June 7th incident at the time of his hiring and have since placed Vollhardt on leave after learning of the scandal.
As for the child seen shoved in the footage, he was reportedly not physically injured in any meaningful way via the incident, but Fresno Unified officials did confirm the child did receive “the necessary social-emotional supports.”
But the troubles for Vollhardt are no longer merely job-related, as he has since been criminally charged with child abuse and endangerment pertaining to the June 7th incident.
Yet, the guardian of the child, identified as Ann Frank, isn’t exactly thrilled with the amount of time taken by authorities before charges were brought against the former elementary school principal.
Fresno Police Department Chief Paco Balderrama addressed the minor controversy of charges taking over three months to get pushed through, admitting that his department didn’t appropriately handle the priority/classification of the case. In fact, Chief Balderrama wasn’t even aware of the case until after the video was released publicly and went viral.
“We cannot change the fact that our process failed to properly categorize the incident as an ‘active case’ and there was an unnecessary and unacceptable delay in our process…I should have been made aware of the incident much sooner.”
Vollhardt is slated to appear in court on September 26th. If convicted of the charge, the former elementary principal could face up to a year in jail.
This piece was written by Gregory Hoyt on September 12, 2022. It originally appeared in RedVoiceMedia.com and is used by permission.
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