This is no April Fools’ joke. Eleven of 12 former Atlanta Public Schools employees were found guilty of cheating, today April 1, 2015, in Fulton County [Georgia] Superior Court. One of the accused, Shani Robinson (number seven in above photo), is pregnant is the only one of the 11 who wasn’t remanded into custody because she is near her due date.
Judge Jerry Baxter ordered the guilty to jail immediately, telling defense attorneys, “They have made their bed and they’re going to have to lie in it and it starts today.”
In the original indictment, 35 educators were accused of conspiring to change student answers on standardized tests by a Fulton County grand jury. Twenty one took plea deals and the remaining chose to stand trial, including former national award winning superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall, 68, who passed away after a long battle with breast cancer on March 2, 2015, and D.H. Stanton Elementary School former principal Dr. Willie Davenport, 66, who passed away on September 4, 2013, after a battle with breast cancer as well. Hall resigned from her position in 2011 and denied any role in the cheating scandal until her death.
A racketeering indictment could earn the educators a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
Verdicts are as follow:
Sharon Davis-Williams: School Resource Team Executive Director, Violation of racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations act (RICO): GUILTY, False statements: NOT GUILTY
Tamara Cotman: School Resource Team Executive Director, RICO: GUILTY
Michael Pitts: School Resource Team Executive Director, RICO: GUILTY, Influencing witnesses: GUILTY
Dana Evans: Dobbs Elementary Principal, RICO: GUILTY, False statements: GUILTY
Angela Williamson: Dobbs Elementary Teacher: RICO: GUILTY, False statements: GUILTY, False swearing: GUILTY
Dessa Curb: All counts: NOT GUILTY
Shani Robinson: Dunbar Elementary Teacher, RICO: GUILTY, False statements: GUILTY
Pamela Cleveland: Dunbar Elementary Teacher, RICO: GUILTY, False statements: GUILTY
Diane Buckner-Webb: Dunbar Elementary Teacher, RICO: GUILTY, False statements: GUILTY
Tabeeka Jordan: Deerwood Elemtary Asst. Principal, RICO: GUILTY, False statements: NOT GUILTY, Theft by taking: NOT GUILTY
Donald Bullock: Usher-Collier Heights Elementary Testing Coordinator , RICO: GUILTY, False statements: GUILTY, False swearing: GUILTY
Theresia Copeland: Benteen Elementary Testing Coordinator , RICO: GUILTY, Theft by taking: NOT GUILTY, False statements: GUILTY
Charges and Sentence Ranges
Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act O.C.G.A. 16-14-4 (C)
False Statements and Writings O.C.G.A 16-10-20
False Swearing O.C.G.A. 16-10-71
Theft by Taking O.C.G.A. 16-8-2
Influencing Witnesses O.C.G.A. 16-10-93