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California: School principal pushes special needs student to the floor

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A former school principal has been charged after video emerged showing him shoving a special needs student to the ground.

Brian Vollhardt, who was principal of Wolters Elementary School in central California, was recorded interacting with a boy during breakfast time.

Footage shows the student pointing his finger at the principal, then walking away. Two adults in the conversation with Villhardt and the student also walk away, but the student goes back to the principal and points his finger again.

At that point during the inaudible exchange, the principal forcefully pushes the boy to the ground, as two more adults react.

Video shows former Wolters Elementary School Principal Brian Vollhardt (left) pushing a boy to the ground (Pictures: Fresno United School District)

The incident was reported to Fresno cops on June 9, but Police Chief Paco Balderrama said he only found out about the incident on September 6.

‘Instead of de-escalating the situation, the former principal chose to aggressively shove the student down,’ stated the school district.

Vollhardt was put on administrative leave as the school started an investigation, but he resigned soon after. He has been charged with cruelty to a minor.

‘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,’ said Balderrama, according to KTVU.

Former Wolters Elementary School Principal Brian Vollhardt has been charged with cruelty to a minor after pushing a boy to the ground (Picture: Fresno United School District)

‘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.’

While the investigation so far has not indicated that Vollhardt’s action was racially motivated, the school district has acknowledged the races of the principal and the boy.

‘The district is also not blind to the fact that seeing this footage of a white principal aggressively shoving down a young African American boy is going to be triggering and potentially traumatizing, especially for our African American community,’ stated Fresno Unified.

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