Courtroom drama during sentencing of educators convicted in cheating scandal

Judge Jerry Baxter (Courtesy CBS46)
Judge Jerry Baxter (Courtesy CBS46)

Eight of the 10 Atlanta Public Schools educators found guilty of racketeering in the CRCT test cheating scandal will serve jail time ranging from one to seven years. Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter berated the convicted educators for not owning up to their crimes and exchanged words with attorneys over a plea deal offered on Monday so that the defendants could avoid jail time.

Baxter gave the convicted educators and opportunity to meet with Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard to work out the plea deal, which would have required them to take responsibility for their actions by admitting guilt, apologize to the community and waived the right to an appeal. The plea would have meant weekend jail time or home confinement. Only two of the educators – Donald Bullock and Pamela Cleveland – agreed to the plea deal. Sobbing could be heard in the courtroom as a frustrated Baxter handed out the sentences.

“These are not victimless crimes,” Baxter said. “Hundreds, thousands of children were victims.”

The eight sentenced to jail time are expected to appeal their sentences in 30 days and were given appeal bonds that allowed them to go home until the appeal is determined.

CBS46 has a round up the sentences:

Michael Pitts, School Resource Team Executive Director, SRT-2: 20 years to serve 7 years, 2,000 hours community service, $25,000 fine

Tamara Cotman, School Resource Team Executive Director, SRT-4: 20 years to serve 7 years, 2,000 hours community service, $25,000 fine

Sharon Davis-Williams, School Resource Team, SRT-1: 20 years to serve 7 years, 2,000 hours community service, $25,000 fine

Donald Bullock, Testing Coordinator, Collier Heights Elementary: 5 years probation, 6 months of weekend jail, $5,000 fine and 1,500 hours community service

Dr. Dana Evans, Principal, Dobbs Elementary School: 5 years to serve 1 year and 1,000 hours community service, 1st offender status

Angela Williamson, Teacher, Dobbs Elementary: 5 years to serve 2 years, 1,500 hours community service and $5,000 fine, 1st offender status

Tabeeka Jordan, Assistant Principal, Deerwood Elementary: 5 years to serve 2 years, 1,500 hours community service and $5,000 fine, 1st offender status

Diane Buckner-Webb, Teacher, Dunbar Elementary School: 5 years to serve 2 years, 1,000 hours community service and $1,000 fine, 1st offender status

Theresia Copeland, Testing Coordinator, Benteen Elementary: 5 years to serve 1 year and 1,000 hours community service, 1st offender status

Pamela Cleveland, Teacher, Dunbar Elementary School: 5 years probation with 1 year home confinement from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., 1,000 hours community service and 1,000 fine

Shani Robinson was found guilty but gave birth over the weekend and will get her sentence in August to allow her to spend time with her child.