11 Former Atlanta Public School Employees Found Guilty In Cheating Scandal
Eleven of 12 former public school employees in Atlanta were found guilty of racketeering in what is thought to be the biggest cheating scandal in American education, NPR member station WABE reports.
One defendant, teacher Dessa Curb, was acquitted of all charges, according to WSB-TV's Richard Elliot.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter ordered the 11 to jail immediately. He also told defense attorneys: "They have made their bed and they're going to have to lie in it and it starts today."
As we've reported, this case dates to a report produced by the state in 2011 that found a "school system fraught with unethical behavior that included teachers and principals changing wrong answers on students' answer sheets and an environment where cheating for better test scores was encouraged and whistleblowers were punished."
The report itself was prompted by a statistical analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that found some scores in the Atlanta school system were improbable.
Originally, 35 educators were indicted by a grand jury, but many of them took plea deals and only a dozen of them ended up standing trial.
Elliot, of WSB-TV, has been live tweeting the verdict. He reports:
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Audible gasp from courtroom as judge announced he would take all the convicted defendants into custody. #wsbtv— Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) April 1, 2015
Defense attorneys are pleading to keep their clients out of jail. Judge is having nothing to do with it. #wsbtv— Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) April 1, 2015
Judge allows defendant Shani Robinson to remain out on bond since she is close to her delivery date. #wsbtv— Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) April 1, 2015
Defense attorneys renewing their objections to taking their clients into custody. #wsbtv— Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) April 1, 2015
Judge says "its the cold hard truth." He's ordering them taken into custody. #wsbtv— Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) April 1, 2015
Deputies are now handcuffing 10 defendants and taking them to jail. #wsbtv— Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) April 1, 2015