Teacher Accused of Striking Student Gets New Court Date

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The Benton County teacher accused of striking a student is headed back to court early next year.

Pamela H. Nelson has a Feb. 28 pretrial status hearing on a Class D felony second-degree battery charge, said Van Stone, Benton County prosecuting attorney. The circuit judge handling the case after Jan. 1 will be newly elected Brad Karren.

No trial date has been set for Nelson, Stone said, adding a final determination has not been made between the deputy prosecutor and defense attorney on whether the case will end up going to trial.

On Nov. 13, Nelson, 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  to striking a student, officials said. Not guilty pleas are standard at arraignments to allow the case to proceed in the system.

The 57-year-old Nelson was arrested in October and was fired from the school. She was released from the Benton County Jail on a $5,000 bond on Oct. 3, one day after being booked into jail, records show.

The board’s decision in early October fire Nelson, who was making $33,000 annually in her first year teaching at that school, came at the recommendation of Superintendent Paul Hines.

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.

Nelson had a procedural court hearing Thursday (Dec. 13) before Circuit Judge Jon Comstock, records show.