Atlanta-- Parents with children in the Atlanta Public School system said Sunday they'd been working to repair damage done by the cheating scandal since long before Friday's indictment against 35 educators. The damage has continued ever since cheating allegations first arose. It only got worse from there.
"This cheating scandal has destroyed a lot of children, it's destroyed families," said APS parent Chandra Gallashaw.
Gallashaw lives across the street from Parks Elementary, one of the centers of the cheating investigation. Several of her daughters went to APS schools, one even worked for Beverly Hall. She said she has no way of knowing whether their tests were altered, but she knows how they were affected. They lost faith in their teachers and the wider system of which they were a part.
"We've been blaming it on teachers, we've been blaming it on principals it should have been blamed on the top from the very beginning," Gallashaw said of former Superintendent Hall.
Prosecutors said Hall encouraged a culture of cheating and penalized those who refused to participate. Hall's lawyer said she is innocent, and was not specifically accused by anyone underneath her of participating in cheating.
"This is not something we're going to overcome immediately, this is international news," said APS parent Shawnna Hayes-Tavares. She's now running for a school board seat to "become the change she wants to see."
"I have to be hopeful, I have a 5th grader, 7th grader and a 9th grader, I have to he hopeful," Hayes-Tavares said.
She said the healing can begin now that the legal process has started.