Teacher Accused of Hitting Student Gets April Court Date
The Benton County teacher accused of striking a student is set to be back to court in April.
Pamela H. Nelson has an April 8 pretrial status hearing at 8:30 a.m. on a Class D felony second-degree battery charge, said Van Stone, Benton County prosecuting attorney. The circuit judge handling the case is Brad Karren.
Nelson was scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on Thursday (Feb. 28), but that hearing was postponed until April, Stone said.
Late last year, Stone said no trial date had been set for Nelson, adding a final determination had 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 to fire Nelson, who was making $33,000 annually in her first year teaching at that school, came at the recommendation of Superintendent Paul Hines. Hines has since announced he is stepping down from his post.
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.