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CASCADE: Finch Elementary teachers deny cheating | Education

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CASCADE: Finch Elementary teachers deny cheating

ATLANTA - A group of teachers named in the Office of the Governor's Special Investigation report into CRCT cheating allegations in the Atlanta Public School System said they did not cheat and they want to clear their names.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: APS CRCT Investigation

The group from Finch Elementary School has hired an attorney and held a news conference Friday morning.

During the news conference, three teachers from Finch, Sharona Thomas-Wilson, Tyrone Shorter, and Joya Florence, said they were railroaded and bullied by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation during the probe into erasures and allegations of cheating.

Included among the teachers is last year's Finch Elementary School Teacher of the Year.

While the three teachers denied cheating on the tests, they admitted that the school's principal ordered all of the teachers to meet as a group to erase "stray marks" on the tests. But the three deny changing any answers.

"They lied to us in that it did not affect the outcome of the test," Thomas-Wilson said Friday. "They told us that the machine used to grade the test would reject the tests if we did not go through the test and erase the stray marks."

"We did not change any answers," Thomas-Wilson said.

"They have witnesses. We have witness," said the teachers' attorney Gerald Griggs. "It is our emphatic stance today that they did not cheat. There's no proof of cheating. We stand ready, willing and able to defend that."

Griggs and the teachers accused the GBI of bullying tactics, threatening to only grant them immunity if they confessed. The three teachers said they did not confess.

The teachers also confirmed a climate of fear within the school system under former Superintendent Beverly Hall.