Ex-Principal Faces Charges After Shoving Autistic Student To Ground

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A former California principal has been charged with misdemeanor child abuse and endangerment after school cameras caught him shoving a Black student with autism to the ground.

Video of the June 7 incident shows ex-principal of Wolters Elementary Brian Vollhardt pushing a 10-year-old student in the chest, which brought the boy to the floor of the Fresno school's cafeteria, per KTVU.

According to the Fresno United School district, while engaging with an upset special needs student, the principal chose to “aggressively shove the student down” rather than “de-escalating the situation.”

Following the incident, the school district sought to discipline Vollhardt, but the principal resigned and left his position.

However, the 10-year-old boy's guardian, Ann Frank, said Fresno Unified didn't share video of the incident until three months after it occurred, WAOW News reports.

"You cannot put force to these kids like that," Frank said, per the local outlet. "My son is autistic. Any parents seeing this video, they know what I'm feeling right now. My son was pushed with force by this principal who was supposed to protect him."

School District Superintendent Bob Nelson called Vollhardt’s actions “repugnant" and said the behavior is “absolutely not tolerated at any level within Fresno Unified.”

Nelson noted that seeing a white principal shoving a Black, 10-year-old student could be triggering, especially for the African-American community, WAOW reports.

"While there's been zero information to lead us to believe this was a racially motivated altercation, we are not blind to the fact that racial dynamics are always present," Nelson said.

Vollhardt is scheduled to be arraigned on the misdemeanor charge later this month.

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