A middle school choir and computer keyboarding teacher at the Benton County School of the Arts in Rogers pleaded not guilty at her arraignment in Benton County Circuit Court Tuesday (Nov. 13) to striking a student, officials said.
Pamela H. Nelson, 57, is scheduled for a Dec. 13 court date before Circuit Judge Jon Comstock, court officials said. Not guilty pleas are standard at arraignments to allow the case to proceed to court.
Nelson was arrested in October on a second degree battery charge and was fired from the school.
Superintendent Paul Hines recommended that the board at a regularly scheduled meeting in early October fire Nelson, a first-year teacher making $33,000 a year. Four of the seven board members were present at the meeting in the BCSA elementary library. Four members constitute the majority needed for the vote.
Nelson has denied striking the student.
“I would never strike a child. I’ve been a teacher for over 30 years,” she said. “I have children, and I would never strike a child.”
The 12-year-old male student Nelson is accused of striking in the back was uninjured, Hines said.
The Rogers Police Department issued a news release saying it received a report of suspected child abuse at the school. The Arkansas State Police Child Abuse Hot Line was notified of the incident, the release states.