72 students and 100 employees to testify in APS cheating trial

ATLANTA -- It's now week two of jury selection in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial where 12 former educators are on trial.

Today, the district released information that as many as 72 students and 100 current APS employees will testify during the lengthy proceedings.

With the school year underway, it means they will have to leave their classes to go to court.

"It's something that we can't ignore. I think this is a painful time for all involved," said Courtney English, APS Board Chairman.

The district is trying to get ahead of what it's facing.

Classes in Atlanta schools are underway at the same time as the largest test cheating trial in the nation's history is taking place.

The 12 defendants are all former APS employees – educators -- accused of racketeering charges that are usually aimed at organized crime figures. They are related to the changing answers on the 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT).

The district is already putting plans in place to accommodate the dozens of students who will testify.

"They could miss significant time in the classroom. We are taking steps on the front end to make sure they're not missing out on their schoolwork," said English.

Schools will give them an excused absence and counselors will be available to anyone who requests it. One other note, the media will not identify any of them by name or show their faces.

A few of the 100 current APS employees expected to testify were initially implicated in the cheating scandal, but were cleared of any wrongdoing.

The Superintendent (Dr. Meria Carstaphen) is being incredibly pro-active in reaching out to those employees (scheduled to testify) by reaching out to their principals, as well as their direct supervisors and making sure we're able to back-fil any work that they have to do," said English.

English says if during the trial, something comes out involving misconduct by any current employees, the district will "act decisively to make sure it doesn't impact the lives of the children."

READ: APS Questions and Answers related to the trial

"This entire time serves as a reminder of what can happen when you place the needs of adults over the interests of kids," said English.


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