Ex-principal charged with child abuse after striking student

Sep 13, 2022, 3:09 PM | Updated: 3:12 pm

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A former principal was charged in central California with child abuse after being caught on video striking a student with special needs, and his attorney said Tuesday that what the video shows is out of character for the veteran educator.

Brian Vollhardt, who was the principal of Wolters Elementary, was charged last week with misdemeanor child abuse after surveillance video captured him shoving the child June 7 in the school’s cafeteria.

“My client has been in education for 20-plus years. He’s been a teacher, a special ed teacher and administrator for many years,” Vollhart’s attorney, Roger Wilson, told the Fresno Bee. “The conduct that’s on the video appears to be completely out of character for him.”

The newspaper obtained the video, which was released last Wednesday. A day after the video was made public, officials with the Fresno Unified School District and the Fresno Police Department released details on the investigation into Vollhardt, who resigned from his position with the district on Aug. 4. He was hired shortly after that as vice principal of Golden Plains Unified, which put Vollhardt on administrative leave Sept. 8 and said that it would wait for the outcome of the criminal case to take further action.

The police department opened an investigation on Vollhardt after a Fresno district employee contacted the police on June 9, department spokesperson Lt. Bill Dooley said.

Police Chief Paco Balderrama last week said “system failures” within the department were to blame for a monthslong delay in the investigation. Balderrama acknowledged police received video evidence in June but he said he didn’t see the footage or hand the case over to the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office until Tuesday, after a Fresno Bee reporter requested information about the case from police.

Documents obtained by the newspaper through a Public Records Act request show prior run-ins between the educator and the student. The principal was accused of forcing the same student to the ground 11 days earlier, putting his knee to the child’s back and holding down the student’s shoulder for “approximately 2-4 minutes,” according to a formal complaint obtained by the newspaper.

Wilson said he is still waiting on key information and evidence from the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office as he prepares for Vollhardt’s arraignment scheduled for Sept. 26.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Republican presidential candidates, from left, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former New Jers...

Associated Press

3rd Republican presidential debate is set for Nov. 8 in Miami, with the strictest qualifications yet

The third Republican presidential debate will be held in Miami on Nov. 8, a day after several states hold off-year elections.

3 days ago

During the equinox, the Earth’s axis and its orbit line up so that both hemispheres get an equal ...

Associated Press

The fall equinox is here. What does that mean?

The equinox arrives on Saturday, marking the start of the fall season for the Northern Hemisphere. But what does that actually mean?

3 days ago

Ray Epps Ray Epps, an Arizona man who became the center of a conspiracy theory about Jan. 6, 2021, ...

Associated Press

Ray Epps, an Arizona man who supported Trump, pleads guilty to Capital riot charge

Ray Epps, the target of a conspiracy theory about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge.

5 days ago

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, to ...

Associated Press

Trump refuses to say in a TV interview how he watched the Jan. 6 attack unfold at the US Capitol

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday to answer questions about whether he watched the Capitol riot.

8 days ago

This frame grab from video, provided by the Mexican government, shows Ovidio Guzman Lopez being det...

Associated Press

Mexico extradites son of ‘El Chapo,’ Ovidio Guzman Lopez to US

The son of notorious cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, Ovidio Guzman Lopez was extradited to the U.S. on Friday.

9 days ago

impeachments in US history...

Associated Press

A look at notable impeachments in US history, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was acquitted Saturday on during his impeachment trial. Here's a roundup of impeachments in U.S. history.

9 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Ignite Digital

How to unlock the power of digital marketing for Phoenix businesses

All businesses around the Valley hopes to maximize their ROI with current customers and secure a greater market share in the digital sphere.



When most diets fail, re:vitalize makes a difference that shows

Staying healthy and losing weight are things many people in Arizona are conscious of, especially during the summer.



At Ability360, every day is Independence Day

With 100 different programs and services, more than 1,500 non-medically based home care staff, a world-renowned Sports & Fitness Center and over 15,000 people with disabilities served annually, across all ages and demographics, Ability360 is a nationwide leader in the disability community.

Ex-principal charged with child abuse after striking student