Former Blacksburg principal found not guilty

Blacksburg elementary principal charged with assault and battery
Blacksburg elementary principal charged with assault and battery (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

UPDATE 10:28 p.m.  A judge has found former Gilbert Linkous Elementary School principal Carol Kahler not guilty.  The judge said there was not enough evidence to find her guilty of assault.

The trial wrapped up around 10:30 p.m. Friday.  Kahler took the stand and testified saying she never slapped a special needs child who was kicking, spitting, hitting and cursing his case manager Heidi Harper.

Kahler  had been put on administrative leave pending the investigation. No word yet on if or when she'll be reinstated.

Judge David Mullen said the Commonwealth did not meet its burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  Dozens of teacher stayed through the late hours and cheered at the ruling.

The support didn't go unnoticed by Khaler.

"It just means the world to me and those teachers have been my life and I love them, and they love me," Kahler said. "The most important thing to remember is that we need to we need to take care of our children and make sure they are well taken care of in our public schools."

BLACKSBURG (WSLS 10) - The trial began Friday for former Blacksburg Elementary Principal Carol Kahler's trial on charges of assault and battery of a minor.

The former Gilbert Linkous Elementary principal was put on administrative leave after Blacksburg Police filed the charges March 30.

Special Education Teacher Heidi Harper testified Friday that Kahler slapped a special needs student who was in "full meltdown mode." Harper said she took the child into Kahler's office February 9. The student, Harper testified, had been screaming, kicking, and spit on her.

Harper also testified the slap she witnessed would not have left a mark on the child's face, in her opinion. She also said Kahler did not rear back before striking the child and there was no sound associated with the impact, but it was enough to move the child's face.

During Friday's proceedings, the judge denied a request from the defense to dismiss the case.

Harper said she did not report what happened, even though she is mandated to report such an incident to the school system, police or social services.  She reported it to another teacher two weeks later, the same day she was told she was being removed as the student's case manager.

The adoptive mother of the student testified the child was once subjected to serious physical and mental abuse, among other things.

The defense had 12 witnesses remaining to call after a recess was taken around 4:15 p.m.

Kahler has plead not guilty to the charges.

Some details were intentionally redacted in order to protect the identify of the minor child.