Teacher Charged with Striking a Student Gets July Trial Date

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A July trial date was set Monday (April 8) for the former Benton County teacher accused of striking a student last year.

A jury trial is set to begin July 9 for Pamela H. Nelson, who has been charged with second-degree battery, a Class D felony, said Van Stone, Benton County prosecuting attorney.

Nelson, 57, appeared at a pretrial status hearing Monday before Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren. The jury trial is scheduled to be held in his Division 2 courtroom.

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.

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. 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 Rogers Police Department issued a news release at the time, 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.