School board seals teacher’s fate

Tribunal’s recommendation to fire Vollmer upheld

The Clayton County Public School Board of Education has voted to uphold the tribunal recommendation to terminate Adamson Middle School teacher David Vollmer, who was accused of mental cruelty toward students with profound disabilities.

“I believe this was a good decision by the board, based on the evidence submitted,” said Winston Denmark, attorney for the school system.

According to Denmark, Vollmer also groped and tickled a male student’s private parts, destroyed a student’s art work, and followed a female student into the bathroom.

The Clayton County district attorney’s office is now handling the investigation, however; no updates were given.

Vollmer spent a week, in May, testifying before a special tribunal, set up to hear accusations made by a paraprofessional who claimed she witnessed him constantly abusing students. Monique Hall testified that Vollmer tickled students near their private parts, stuck his hands down a student’s pants, bent a student’s fingers back and slammed a student down in a chair.

In a previous statement, Warren Fortson, Vollmer’s attorney, said the accusations against his client were false, and that his client was innocent. “In 12 years, my client has had a spotless record,” said Fortson. “But during the hearing, we could not use that information in [Vollmer’s] defense.”

However, Fortson said that Vollmer was not groping the male student. Rather, he was demonstrating to the student how to properly tuck in his shirt. “These students are the most difficult population to work with, they have to be taught how to do things [like tucking in a shirt] to get them trained,” he said.

Fortson said when he broke the news to Vollmer, the teacher was devastated. “How would you feel if you were wrongfully terminated?” said Fortson. “To be quite frank, I don’t see how anyone could have listened to [Hall].” Fortson added he advised Vollmer not to make a public comment.

Fortson said he believed that Vollmer, who is trained to work specifically with students who have severe disabilities, did a good job defending himself during the tribunal hearing. He said Vollmer explained to the panel each incident, and charged that Vollmer was being maliciously targeted by Hall, who had not been trained to work with special-needs students and was allegedly caught sleeping on the job by Vollmer on several occasions.

Fortson told a reporter that his next course of action will be to file an appeal with the state board of education. However, Denmark said he does not believe that the state board of education will reverse the school board’s decision.

When asked what this termination will mean for Vollmer’s career, Fortson said that the accusation is so serious, it’s unlikely Vollmer will land another teaching position in another district.