A Fulton County Grand Jury finished hearing a second day of testimony Thursday without any indictments in the case involving former Atlanta Public School employees accused of cheating on tests.
Jurors must decide whether any educators should face criminal charges. The jury will reconvene Friday morning.
"I do think that they should take the time to review the allegations carefully," said former prosecutor Bill Thomas. "These things clearly affect people's lives."
Most of the 180 Atlanta Public Schools teachers and administrators charged with cheating on the 2009 CRCT have already had their district-led tribunal hearings to see if they can come back to the classrooms to teach.
About 25 of those teachers could now be slapped with criminal charges.
Atlanta Public Schools released the following statement:
"This is a legal matter between the individuals implicated and the Fulton County District Attorney's office, and we will allow the legal process to take its course. Our focus is on providing a quality education to all of our students and supporting the 6,000 employees who come to work each day and make sound decisions about educating our students."
An attorney who represented multiple APS educators implicated in the scandal said one of his clients was interviewed by the Fulton County District Attorney's Office as it worked to gather evidence for a possible indictment.
The attorney believed teachers who were implicated are being interviewed as witnesses in order for prosecutors to have more solid evidence against administrators.
"Teachers were loyal to principals," the attorney said. "There was obviously some sort of orchestration. I find it difficult to believe that the upper echelon of APS didn't know this was going on."
A grand jury started listening to testimony Wednesday morning and is expected to decide whether or not to indict APS educators sometime this week.
"We are on pins and needles," the attorney said of educators who were implicated in the scandal and their attorneys.
Attorney Michael Kramer, who has also represented APS educators in several tribunal hearings, said none of his clients were summoned to testify before the grand jury but that he understands there are about 26 cases involved - reiterating that the number doesn't necessarily correspond to how many people could be named in a possible indictment.
"I don't believe very many principals will be named," Kramer said. "I believe that given all that they're doing, they're going to go after central office and regional administrators above the principal level."
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said he would hold off on commenting on the matter until the grand jury came to a decision.
"We think this is really an issue that the public should know about," Howard said.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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