Lawyer: Teacher who held "cheating party" feared losing her job - CBS46 News

Lawyer: Teacher who held "cheating party" feared losing her job

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

The attorney for a long-time Atlanta school teacher said the teacher feared she would lose her job if she failed to change test answers so students would pass.

A report by state investigators said Bernadine Macon held a "party" at her home in Douglasville, during which she and other teachers erased numerous answers on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test.

"Whose idea was it for a so-called changing party?" reporter Renee Starzyk asked Macon's attorney, Bryant Green.

"That is a mischaracterization of what she was instructed to do," Green said. "But it was not her idea."

Macon worked at Gideons Elementary in southwest Atlanta for 23 years. She is among 178 educators named in a massive cheating scandal in the Atlanta school district.

Green said the testing coordinator and the principal were the ones who pressured teachers to change answers. Green said many teachers felt compelled to cheat to save their jobs.

"In today's economy, people really like to hang onto their jobs," said Green. "It's a tough choice."

Interim School Superintendent Erroll Davis has given the teachers and principals until Wednesday to resign or retire. If they fail to do so, Davis said the district will fire them.

Green said his client has no plans to give up her teaching post.

"She didn't do anything wrong," Green sad. "She did what she was told."

State investigators gave Macon and others who confessed immunity from criminal charges.

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