An Atlanta public school teacher accused in the CRCT cheating scandal is speaking to FOX 5. A tribunal of educators decided that Angela Williamson did not cheat during CRCT testing back in 2009.
According to Williamson's attorney, the allegations against the Dobbs Elementary School fifth-grade teacher were that she nodded her head and coughed to help steer students towards the right answers.
"Those are normal things. A cough -- I wasn't aware of a cough. That's something I normally do so...it's was like a witch hunt," said Williamson.
Williamson went before the tribunal last Saturday. She presented four witnesses and after 25 minutes, the tribunal decided she did not cheat.
"This has been such a draining -- and I mean a draining -- process," said Williamson.
She says the ordeal has taken a physical, emotional and financial toll on her.
"The emotional aspect, you know, struggling to be a mom to my children, a wife to my husband has taken a tremendous toll on me. Physically, I've lost a tremendous amount of weight. Financially, which has really been the hard part. You know, at one point, there were two income[s] but now the reduction of one income has greatly changed our lives," said Williamson.
The school district stopped her pay in April when her attorney could not make a tribunal hearing due to a murder trial. Williamson and her attorney, Gerald Griggs, are now sending a letter to APS for back pay.
Griggs says she never confessed to anything.
"There's no need to bully anybody. There's no need to threaten anybody. What needs to happen is the truth needs to come out. You say you have witnesses. You say you have evidence -- then you go through a hearing and you have none of that," said Griggs.
Williamson's attorney said that he believes there are many more teachers who are falsely accused of cheating.
Williamson said she'd like to teach again.
"Certainly. That is my passion. Teaching is my passion," she said.
The tribunal was the first step to get her job back. Williamson will now have to go before the Atlanta school board. A district spokesperson says that hearing will take place on July 16.
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