ATLANTA -- Some Atlanta Public Schools teachers implicated in the CRCT cheating scandalare chosing to resignjust before they are scheduled to facea termination tribunal.
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Crystal Draper, aformer teacherat Parks Middle School,resigned Thursday, days before her Monday hearing.
Former Venetian Hills Elementary Schoolteacher Jacquelyn Parks was to appear before the panel Friday, but resigned on Wednesday.
Others scheduled for tribunal hearings who chose to resign this week include Daisy Bowser, formerly of Gideons Elementary School, andHardy Scott, who taught at Venetian Hills.
Bowserhas admitted to investigators she altered answers on CRCT test answer sheets at Gideons.
APS has charged them with various levels of unethical behavior, including "willful neglect of duties" and "immorality" under theGeorgia Code.
The next scheduledhearing is on March 22 for Damien Northern of Parks Middle School.
The tribunals are a chance for APS to start bringing resolution to cases that have dragged on since last July and have cost $1 million a month in taxpayer dollars. Those accused have remained on the payroll under administrative leave. The hearings at APS offices downtown are open to the public.
Observers believe the teachers began resigning after learning the results of the first tribunal in the cheating scandal.
On Wednesday, Damany Lewis, a seventh grade teacher atParks Middle School, became the first teacher to be fired, following his appearance beforethe tribunal.
GBI investigators said Damien Northern worked with Lewis at Parks. Northern is accused of checking the answer sheets after students took the tests and changing answers from wrong to right.
Lewis confessed toGBI investigators that heused a razor blade to open CRCT test packets.
When asked about the details on Wednesday, Lewisrefused to answer and asserted his fifth amendment right not to incriminate himself.
Later, he read a prepared statement:
"Teachers had nothing to do with the aura of fear and intimidation that the GBI speaks of. So, I beg of you APS, see this process to the end and sweep nothing under the rug. Let's not crucify the teachers and act like there weren't and aren't systemic problems that have to addressed at the district. No one acts in vacuum, especially teachers in a district that has been severely challenged."
Lewis became emotional while reading the statement and made a plea to the tribunal.
"If you don't have to fire me, I hope you can find it in your heart to use my math skills to benefit the children of Atlanta Public Schools," he said.
Prior to Wednesday's hearing, the district hadaskedLewis toeither resign or be fired.He chose not to resign andshowed up late tothe hearing, without a lawyer.
Hecan appeal his firing to the state board of education, state superior court and the state court of appeals.
Nine more teachers face tribunal hearingsthis month.