Attorney: DA hopes teachers will turn on APS administrators - CBS46 News

Attorney: DA hopes teachers will turn on APS administrators

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

An attorney who specializes in cases dealing with education said Sunday that he believes Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard plans to have 14 indicted teachers help testify against high-ranking Atlanta Public Schools officials.

The list of indicted APS educators includes former Superintendent Beverly Hall, a human resources executive, school resource team executive directors, principals, assistant principals, testing coordinators, a secretary and teachers.

Attorney Torin Togut, who specializes in educational law, believes Howard has a plan.

"I think the strategy certainly could be that some of these teachers could flip, will become government witnesses for the state," Togut said. "And that they will testify against the principals, assistant principals, testing coordinators who were also indicted."

Already, many of the indicted teachers have sworn they didn't cheat while under oath during CRCT Fair Dismissal Act tribunal hearings put together by Atlanta Public Schools officials.

One of those teachers is Derrick Broadwater, who taught at Dobbs Elementary School. His attorneys had a former student testify in his favor who took the 2009 CRCT in his classroom.

"I never cheated on the CRCT," Dobbs said in his 2012 hearing.

Higher-ranking educator Donald Bullock, who was also indicted, testified in his 2012 tribunal hearing that he didn't know about any cheating that happened at Usher-Collier Heights Elementary School.

"I feel if someone was going to do something, they'd find a way to do it," Bullock said.

Togut said teachers may decide to take a plea bargain to escape the possibility of jail time. All defendants have been charged with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which, if convicted of, could mean up to 20 years in prison.

"If there is strong evidence against any educator, they have to seriously consider whether or not they want to go through a trial, run the risk of being convicted and possibly jailed as a result," Togut said.

Togut said the case is a symptom of a greater problem: a heavy reliance on standardize testing.

"I think the problem stems from the fact that Georgia uses high stakes testing, which means one test to determine whether or not a youngster graduates or is retained from one year to the next," Togut said.

Those educators are expected to turn themselves in to Fulton County Jail by Tuesday.

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