Society

8 Of 10 Atlanta Teachers Sentenced To Prison In School Cheating Case

| by Khier Casino
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Ten Atlanta Public Schools teachers and administrators convicted of taking part in a widespread conspiracy to inflate student scores on standardized tests were sentenced on Tuesday and have been released on appeal bonds.

In 2013, 35 educators were accused of racketeering, making false statements, and theft, with many pleading guilty, and some testifying at the months-long trial.

Earlier in April, only one of the 12 educators who went to trial was acquitted and the other 11 were convicted on a racketeering charge, The Associated Press reports.

While former superintendent Beverly Hall was among those indicted, she did not stand trial because of complications of breast cancer. She passed away on March 2.

On Monday, Judge Jerry Baxter gave each of the convicted educators an opportunity to work out a plea deal to avoid going to prison.

"We never had a goal of putting people in jail," Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said following the sentencing.

The teachers and administrators had been offered a deal that required admitting guilt, apologizing and waiving their rights to appeal.

Testing coordinator Donald Bullock and Dunbar Elementary teacher Pamela Cleveland were the only two of the 10 sentenced on Tuesday who agreed to the plea deal, according to WSB-TV. Eight of the 10 were sentenced to jail time, but released on appeal bonds that will allow them to be free until their appeal is determined.

CBS46 has compiled a list of the sentences:

Michael Pitts

School Resource Team Executive Director, SRT-2

20 years to serve 7 years, 2,000 hours community service, $25,000 fine

 

Tamara Cotman

School Resource Team Executive Director, SRT-4

20 years to serve 7 years, 2,000 hours community service, $25,000 fine

 

Sharon Davis-Williams

School Resource Team, SRT-1

20 years to serve 7 years, 2,000 hours community service, $25,000 fine

 

Donald Bullock

Testing Coordinator, Collier Heights Elementary

5 years probation, 6 months of weekend jail, $5,000 fine and 1,500 hours community service

 

Dr. Dana Evans

Principal, Dobbs Elementary School

5 years to serve 1 year and 1,000 hours community service, 1st offender status

 

Angela Williamson

Teacher, Dobbs Elementary School

5 years to serve 2 years, 1,500 hours community service and $5,000 fine, 1st offender status

 

Tabeeka Jordan

Assistant Principal, Deerwood Elementary School

5 years to serve 2 years, 1,500 hours community service and $5,000 fine, 1st offender status

 

Diane Buckner-Webb

Teacher, Dunbar Elementary School

5 years to serve 2 years, 1,000 hours community service and $1,000 fine, 1st offender status

 

Theresia Copeland

Testing Coordinator, Benteen Elementary School

5 years to serve 1 year and 1,000 hours community service, 1st offender status

 

Pamela Cleveland

Teacher, Dunbar Elementary School

5 years probation with 1 year home confinement from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., 1,000 hours community service and 1,000 fine. According to Cleveland's attorney, as a first offender, her record will not show a conviction if she successfully completes her sentence, community service and pays her fine.

 

Shani Robinson was found guilty but gave birth over the weekend and her sentence has been set for August.

Sources: AP via New York Daily NewsWSB-TVCBS46

Photo Credit: Brian Turner/Flickr Creative Commons