Arkansas Arts Academy Teacher Put On Leave After Arrest

ROGERS (KFSM) — An Arkansas Arts Academy teacher accused of failing to report her husband’s alleged child abuse has been placed on paid leave, according to superintendent Mary Ley.

Ley said Tuesday (Sept. 5) she’ll recommend to the school board that Tamy Pershing be fired. The board will hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday (Sept. 7).

Ley said the school learned Friday (Sept. 1) afternoon that Pershing, 46, had been arrested in connection with failure to notify by a mandated reporter and endangering the welfare of a minor, both misdemeanors.

“We were able to obtain and review a copy of the probable cause affidavit leading to the arrest,” Ley said in a statement. “While cognizant that Mrs. Pershing has not been formally charged, not to mention convicted, of any offense, the allegations presented in the affidavit have damaged the ability of Mrs. Pershing to serve as a teacher for the District.”

Pershing has taught at the academy for three years, most recently as a sixth-grade language arts teacher.

Bella Vista police arrested Pershing and her husband, Doug Pershing, after investigators learned a 4-year-old said Doug Pershing let her touch him on about 20 different occasions. The 4-year-old also said a 2-year-old had inappropriate contact with Doug Pershing, according to police.

The Pershings are family friends of the victims’ parents, who live in Nevada, according to police.

The 4-year-old said Tamy Pershing walked in on them, and Pershing told her husband “to stop and not do it again,” according to police.

Tamy Pershing also told police she’s “always careful with Douglas around her school so she doesn’t put him in a bad situation,” because she’s “seen men get accused of things,” according to the affidavit.

Doug Pershing, 54, faces a felony charge of second-degree sexual assault.

Formal charges haven’t been field against him or his wife, according to Nathan Smith, Benton County prosecutor.

The Pershings have been released from the Benton County Jail after posting bonds.

Under state law, anyone considered a “mandated reporter” must immediately notify the Child Abuse Hotline if they have reasonable cause to suspect a child has been subjected to maltreatment, died as a result of maltreatment or died suddenly and unexpectedly, according to Arkansas Code Annotated 12-18-402.

In Arkansas, mandated reporters include teachers, doctors and clergy members, among others.