CCSD teacher resigns following abuse allegations

Joshua Kellogg

FARMINGTON – A Central Consolidated School District teacher has resigned after she allegedly injured a student last year.

Shari Nelson, a first-grade teacher at Nizhoni Elementary School in Shiprock, resigned from her position before a discharge hearing scheduled for Wednesday morning, according to CCSD Spokesman James Preminger.

Shelby Benally, the mother of the six-year-old male student, said Nelson allegedly grabbed her son by the arm and dragged him across the classroom floor on Oct. 3.

Benally said her son suffered carpet burn on his back from the alleged incident. She took him to the Northern Navajo Medical Center be examined

Efforts to reach Nelson for comment were unsuccessful.

Greg Maxie, UniServ Director for the National Education Association of New Mexico, said Nelson entered into an agreement with the district to forgo the scheduled hearing.

When asked about Benally's allegations, Maxie said it’s sad that children and educators suffer from a lack of support from school administrators.

“I’m just glad she resigned and that she is out of the school district,” Benally said.

After the student was examined, the doctor arranged for a hospital social worker to speak to Benally.

Benally was also interviewed by an officer from the Navajo Police Department.

According to Benally, Nelson was placed on administrative leave following the alleged incident.

Preminger said CCSD was unable to answer questions regarding Nelson being placed on administrative leave because the district’s human resources director was unavailable.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.