Teacher Accused of Hitting Student Has Fall Trial Date

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An October trial date has been scheduled for the former Benton County teacher accused of striking a student last year.

A jury trial is set to begin Oct. 15 for Pamela H. Nelson, who has been charged with second-degree battery, a Class D felony, according to Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Van Stone’s office.

Nelson’s jury trial had been scheduled to begin July 9 but was pushed back because three child-rape trials that week have priority, officials said.

Nelson has a pretrial status hearing on Oct. 14, officials said.

The jury trial is scheduled to be held in the Division 2 courtroom of Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren.

At an arraignment on Nov. 13, Nelson pleaded not guilty to striking a student at the Benton County School of the Arts in Rogers while the 57 year old was a middle school choir and computer keyboarding teacher there, officials said. Not guilty pleas are standard at arraignments to allow the case to proceed in the legal system.

Nelson was arrested in October and was fired from the school after a 12-year-old male student said she hit him on the back. 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.

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.”