Retired teacher testifies in APS trial; Judge fines attorney - CBS46 News

Retired teacher testifies in APS trial; Judge fines attorney for being late

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

After being warned the day before, the judge in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial hit a defense attorney with a $200 fine for showing up late.

Meanwhile, a former testing coordinator explained how she was hired at Deerwood Academy to cheat.

Lavonia Ferrel retired from teaching in Atlanta Public Schools after 34 years. Ferrel said defendant Tebekka Jordan asked her to go to the school as a substitute testing coordinator in 2008 and 2009 to cheat.

"I erased answers after being asked to do so on the math portion of student's test sheets at Deerwood," Ferrel said.

When asked who asked her to erase the answers, Ferrel said, "Ms. Jordan asked me to."

At the time, Jordan was the assistant principal, and defendant Sharon Williams was the executive director.

They, along with the other former APS educators, are accused of cheating on the CRCT for big bonuses.

"It's not easy to admit the cheating scandal. My view is that we were trying to do the right thing, but it was all wrong," Ferrel said.

Ferrel received immunity for her testimony, but when investigators started questioning her at first, she lied to them.

"I was burdened down with all this guilty, and having brought another person into it," she said.

Ferrel is the one who brought Margaret Merkerson in the loop. She asked Merkerson to help them cheat at Jordan's directions.

Merkerson, a substitute teacher, told jurors the day before about her role in the cheating scandal.

The APS cheating trial involves 12 former Atlanta Public Schools educators accused of racketeering in one of the nation's most notorious cheating scandals.

A total of 35 educators were indicted, but 21 agreed to plea deals, while another educator died.

Former APS superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall was also accused, but will not stand trial due to her health. She is battling Stage IV breast cancer, according to her doctors.

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