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Source: Sylvain Sonnet / Getty

Somebody call Olivia Pope because these teachers are facing some serious time for this scandal!

After listening to more than 6 months of testimony, an Atlanta jury convicted 11 teachers of racketeering and other crimes in a standardized test-cheating scandal believed to be the worst of a wave of test cheating in nearly 40 states and Washington, D.C. — not by students but by teachers and administrators who were under pressure to meet certain score goals at the risk of sanction if they failed.

The case stemmed from a 2013 indictment by a grand jury of Beverly Hall, the now-deceased Atlanta schools superintendent, and 34 teachers, principals and others. 12 teachers eventually went to trial; one was acquitted of all charges and the 11 others were all convicted of racketeering — under a law used against the Gambino organized-crime family — plus a variety of other charges. Prosecutors alleged that Hall had run a “corrupt” organization that used test scores to financially reward and punish teachers.

Jurors deliberated for nearly 8 days before reaching their collective decision.

“This has been a long, long, long journey,” Judge Jerry Baxter said shortly before the verdict was read. “I know everyone here probably has emotions they can’t describe. I know I do. But I want to tell you — I’ve been down here 42 years … and I’ve never seen a jury that was more diligent.”

“Whatever your verdict is, I’ll defend it until I die,” Baxter added.

One defendant — Dobbs Elementary School teacher Dessa Curb — was acquitted of all charges against her. The remaining 11 defendants were found guilty of at least one count:

Diane Buckner-Webb (Dunbar Elementary School teacher)

* Guilty of racketeering

* Guilty of two counts of false statements

Donald Bullock (Usher Collier Heights elementary testing)

* Guilty of racketeering

* Guilty of two counts of false statements

* Guilty of one count of false swearing

* Acquitted of one count of false statements

Pamela Cleveland (Dunbar ES teacher)

* Guilty of racketeering

* Guilty of two counts of false statements

Theresia Copeland (Benteen ES testing coordinator)

* Guilty of racketeering

* Guilty of false statements

* Acquitted of theft by taking

Tamara Cotman (School Reform Team Executive Director)

* Guilty of racketeering

Dessa Curb (Dobbs ES teacher)

* Acquitted of racketeering

* Acquitted of two counts of false statements

Dana Evans (Dobbs ES Principal)

* Guilty of racketeering

* Guilty of false statements

* Acquitted of three counts of false statements

Tabeeka Jordan (Deerwood Academy, Asst. Principal)

* Guilty of racketeering

* Acquitted of theft by taking

* Acquitted of false statements

Michael Pitts (School Reform Team executive director)

* Guilty of racketeering

* Guilty of influencing witnesses

Shani Robinson (Dunbar ES teacher)

* Guilty of racketeering

* Guilty of false statements

Sharon Davis Williams (School Reform Team Exec. Director)

* Guilty of racketeering

* Acquitted of two counts of false statements

Angela Williamson (Dobbs ES teacher)

* Guilty of racketeering

* Guilty of two counts of false statements

* Guilty of two counts of false swearing

Judge Baxter ordered the convicted defendants to be taken into custody immediately after the verdict was read.

“The compelling reason is that they have just been convicted,” Baxter said. “They have been convicted and that’s enough for me. I have sat here for six months and listened to this whole thing.”

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard called the case the largest and most complicated he’s ever tried. Howard thanked the parents and children who came forward when the cheating allegations came forward, and said he hoped that the case will result in change for the better for the public education system.

Attorneys for the convicted defendants said they were appalled by the jury’s decision and pledged to file for appeal bonds to get their clients out of jail.

Shawna Hayes-Taveres was one of the first parents to speak out about the cheating scandal and the last to testify in the trial. She said she was pleased to hear news of the convictions. She had three children she said were affected by the cheating, one a special needs student at one of the cheating schools.

“In my wildest dreams, nightmare or thoughts I never thought that we would be able to convict educators of racketeering,” Hayes Taveres said. “I really did not believe that, even though I was hopeful that we were fighting for the children of Atlanta public schools and I said symbolically this was enough. ”

via:BlackMediaScoop

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