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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fulton County grand jury issues subpoena for probe of APS cheating scandal

A criminal investigation has begun into the Atlanta Public School cheating scandal — and former Superintendent Beverly Hall could play a large role, the AJC reports:

The subpoena, issued by a Fulton County grand jury, seeks comprehensive information dating back to 1999 regarding teacher transfers and demotions, bonuses paid to employees for improved test scores and copies of complaints from parents, teachers or students of possible improprieties related to Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests.

The subpoena also seeks signed copies of "any and all oaths of office" taken by Hall when she was superintendent.

"It's the first shot across the bow," criminal defense attorney Jack Martin said. "This is a clear indication they are looking at criminal charges and that prosecutors are using the grand jury to get the records that could provide circumstantial evidence to support the investigation."

The subpoena also requests information from a federal grand jury that looked into the cheating scandal last year on behalf of the U.S. Attorney General. APS teachers and administrators could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of giving false statements to investigators or falsifying documents. Hall has said she regrets for not doing enough to prevent APS educators changing test scores but maintains through her lawyer that she did not know anything about widespread cheating.

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