PDC community divided as principal charged with Child Abuse makes first court appearance
Prairie du Chien, WI – On Wednesday, Aaron Amundson, a Prairie du Chien principal for Bluff View Intermediate School charged with physical abuse of a child, appeared in court for the first time.
According to a criminal complaint, Amundson used chemical cleaners to scrub off two letters on a student’s hand. According to the victim’s mom, her son’s hand was chemically burned from Amundson’s actions.
Before Wednesday’s hearing, Amundson’s defense filed a motion to dismiss the charge, but the prosecution was not ready to argue that motion.
However, the prosecution did ask the judge for a $1,000 bond and a strict no contact order between Amundson and the victim.
In response, the defense asked for the no contact order to have exceptions for Amundson to accidentally run into the student at Bluff View. The defense argued a strict no contact order would prevent Amundson from going back to work at the school as long as the victim attends the same school.
The judge granted the no contact order with exceptions for incidental contact at the school.
Critics of Amundson say this case highlights the deeper divide in the Prairie du Chien community.
“Since the recession, our community got divided. It’s either you have money or you don’t,” Darlene Natwick, a mother with a son in the PDC School District, said.
She said Amundson’s supporters, “want to protect him.”
An Amundson supporter said Amundson did not intentionally chemically burn a student.
“It’s a tragedy what occurred. It was a mistake,” Kurt Kravchuk, who had a child in the PDC School District, said. “Aaron freely admits he made a mistake and didn’t look at the directions. He was just trying to help out a child that came to him in need.”
Amundson has been on paid, non-disciplinary leave, but some women say they’ve seen him at the school.
District Administrator Bob Smudde said that’s because he has allowed Amundson back.
“He’s been going to administrative meetings at the bookends of the day, no student contact,” Smudde said. “Since he is on paid leave we are trying to get him to be as involved in the administrative process with meetings with adults as possible, but he is doing nothing with students at this time.”
Smudde said the District Attorney did ask him to not allow Amundson back on campus, and Smudde said Amundson has not been back since. He added that there has not yet been a decision made as to if Amundson will be allowed on school grounds after the judge created a no contact order with exceptions allowing for Amundson to be on school grounds.
Smudde said that no decision has been made in regards to Amundson’s employment because of the ongoing court proceedings.
In the meantime, Amundson’s supporters and critics both hope for different outcomes.
“I really think it’s time for a new principal. I would like to see a new principal,” Natwick said.
Kravchuk said, “I just hope justice is carried out in a proper manner.”
A motion hearing and preliminary hearing are set for May 31 at 2:30 at the Crawford County Courthouse.