Tribunal recommends teacher’s firing

Abuse allegations could mean end of Vollmer’s career

After spending a week defending himself against accusations that he abused special needs students, David Vollmer, a veteran teacher at Adamson Middle School teacher, will lose his job if the Clayton County Public Schools upholds its tribunal’s recommendation.

The tribunal voted Monday to fire the special needs teacher, who was accused of mental cruelty toward students with profound disabilities. According to Winston Denmark, attorney for the school system, 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.

Under state law, the school board has 10 days to make its final decision on Vollmer’s employment.

The Clayton County district attorney’s office is now handling the investigation.

Vollmer spent a week 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 are false, and his client is 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 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 said the school board will now make the final decision regarding Vollmer’s job status. He said once the school makes its decision, they will file an appeal.

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