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2 resign, 2 fired in CRCT scandal

Dougherty County Board of Education members, from left, Carol Tharin, Milton Griffin, Darrel Ealum and Chairman James Bush speak during a called meeting Wednesday where the BOE accepted the resignation of two principals, fired two teachers and reassigned three principals and 13 teachers in the first fallout from the DCSS CRCT cheating investigation.

Dougherty County Board of Education members, from left, Carol Tharin, Milton Griffin, Darrel Ealum and Chairman James Bush speak during a called meeting Wednesday where the BOE accepted the resignation of two principals, fired two teachers and reassigned three principals and 13 teachers in the first fallout from the DCSS CRCT cheating investigation.

ALBANY — The Dougherty County Board of Education at a special called meeting Wednesday fired two teachers and accepted the resignations of two principals while reassigning 13 teachers and three other principals in the first terminations and reassignments resulting from the state’s 2009 CRCT cheating investigation.

The BOE accepted the resignations of Jackson Heights Elementary Principal LaZoria Brown and West Town Elementary Principal Alene Pringle and terminated teachers Vernell Lowther and Angela Scott, both of Jackson Heights.

Three other principals — Carolyn Scott of M.L. King Elementary, Jose Roquemore of Dougherty High and Angela Schumate of Albany High — were temporarily reassigned to the DCSS Exceptional Students Program while their status is determined.

Roquemore is accused of cheating while at Morningside Elementary and Schumate while at Northside Elementary.

In all, 49 DCSS principals, administrators and teachers were named in the governor’s report.

The two fired teachers were among 18 who confessed to wrongdoing during the four-monthlong probe by state investigators.

Three teachers — Rita Akiyode (Jackson Heights), Lisa Bardge (Alice Coachman) and Tanza Sutton (Jackson Heights) — are no longer with the DCSS. The remaining 13 teachers who confessed, Gloria Mosley (West Town), Robert Bowman (Jackson Heights), Faye Ashley (Jackson Heights), Tiffany Randle (Northside), Jennifer Smith (MLK), Tara Mallard (MLK), Lavonda Jolivette (Turner), Fatima Jackson (Turner), Nikki Lyons (Turner), Trina Faulkner (Alice Coachman), Deborah Anderson (Alice Coachman), Alberta Wallace (Sherwood) and Beverly Knighton-Harris (Sylvester Road) were temporarily assigned to the DCSS Isabella Complex until their cases are resolved.

DCSS Superintendent Joshua Murfree said he plans to meet with all 13 teachers individually beginning today.

The reassigned teachers will be replaced by EIP (Early Intervention Program) teachers in their home schools

“You have to remember that of the 1,247 teachers in the Dougherty County School System, less than 3 percent are accused of wrongdoing,” Murfree said. “But cheating is cheating, and it will not be tolerated. Now we have to wait for the evidence from the (CRCT) investigators. We don’t want to incriminate anyone based on a report and evidence we don’t have.”

The School Board met at 5:15 p.m. and went immediately into executive session. The board remained there for more than two hours before finally emerging at 7:30 p.m.

When they finally voted, board members unanimously approved the acceptance of resignations, the terminations and temporary reassignments.

“We spent a lot of time in discussions with our lawyer (Tommy Coleman),” BOE Chairman James Bush said. “There were some on the board who wanted immediate terminations. Basically, we were told by Mr. Coleman that was not legal.”

The two teachers who were fired were at-will employees and not under contract. The 13 who were reassigned are under contract and entitled to hearings before administrative tribunals before possible termination

“I think we did all we could legally do tonight,” board member David Maschke said. “I am hopeful we will pursue additional people who are culpable. We really need to look at this as an opportunity to also follow up on other issues that have plagued the school system but have not been acknowledged.”

Fellow board member Darrel Ealum agreed.

“I feel like we took all the appropriate action we could take tonight, in view of the fact that we don’t have the evidence we need,” Ealum said. “The Atlanta School System is having a conflict right now between the investigators and the district attorney’s office.

“We don’t want that to happen here.”

The investigation into the exams administered to first- through eighth-graders in Atlanta and Dougherty County began in August 2010 at the direction of then-Gov. Sonny Perdue. At issue was the number of erasures on 2009 CRCT exams in which wrong answers were corrected.

State officials were concerned that at some of the schools there were too many of those corrections and eventually focused on Atlanta and Dougherty County.

The findings of state investigations into Atlanta’s school districts were announced in July of last year. Among other things, the governor’s report found cheating in 44 of the 56 Atlanta schools examined and said that 178 teachers and principals in the schools had been involved in the cheating or should have known it was going on.

A preliminary probe in February of last year flagged the 56 Atlanta schools. Dougherty County had the state’s second-highest number flagged with 14.

Comments

Sister_Ruby 2 years, 11 months ago

What in the devil is the "Isabella Complex" and the "EIT"??? And what will they do productively there???? You know, positive result for pay received??

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 11 months ago

Isabella Complex will be like jail for them until they go to tribunal....lol, EIT stands for 'Everybody In Trouble"....

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whattheheck 2 years, 11 months ago

So that is 20 and there are 29 more to go--pun intended.

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Albanite 2 years, 11 months ago

Doctor Murfree, 3 in a scandal like this would be bad enough, but 3% is a huge problem. Do not try and downplay the seriousness of this matter. Too many eyes are watching to see whether you will terminate these individuals forthwith - or whether you will attempt to obscure issues and keep some of them employed.

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brendajohnson 2 years, 11 months ago

Jackson Heights Elementary Principal LaZoria Brown and West Town Elementary Principal Alene Pringle are on the DOCO BOE agenda to retire, not resign check it out.. http://www.docoschools.org/board/agendas/2012/09jan2012agenda.pdf (almost at the end of the document...as if to hide it??)

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 11 months ago

I looked at that agenda last night during the lull of the executive session and their names were not on the agenda.

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Jimboob 2 years, 11 months ago

Yes they are... For retirement.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 11 months ago

I'm saying they were added to the agenda after the called meeting,

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rock 2 years, 11 months ago

good catch!!! Pringle is set to retire TODAY and Brown in march... Fired!!!! NO way!!!! Allowed to retired with full benefits....WAY TO GO SCHOOL BOARD>>>

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dingleberry 2 years, 11 months ago

If someone is eligible to retire, it is more than difficult to prevent it unless it can be held up pending outcome of criminal charges, IMHO.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 11 months ago

I don't see what you are talking about on the link.

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spookj6 2 years, 11 months ago

What is going to happen to the superintendent that was at the controls when this train came off the track. I see they are going after the superintendent in Atlanta. Would she be immuned.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 11 months ago

I was under the impression that they resigned/retired. However I later asked the same question and was told that they had resigned.

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waltspecht 2 years, 11 months ago

WALB says one retired, one resigned. Just what is the truth. Could ROCK's reply above be correct?

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rock 2 years, 11 months ago

The link to the minutes of last nights meeting show the entire agenda. Those 2 are listed about 3/4 in the agenda with retirement dates lsited and approved by the board.

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Outtahere 2 years, 11 months ago

Okay, this is a good start, but what about Riggins and Baker???? To me this is just a way to sweep their cheating behinds under the rug!!

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 11 months ago

I bet they all are collecting their same salaries. Bet the three "reassigned" principals get over 100K a year.

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someonewithalife 2 years, 11 months ago

All of yall need to get a life and figure out what each of you need to do in your own lives!!!! Instead of talking about stuff neither of you have anything to do with. Find something productive to say or talk about other than stuff neither of you can control. Get A LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 11 months ago

It is uninformed Blind Followers like you who bury their head in the sand and allow Albany’s children to have their futures stolen by a few for their own personal gain. If you have a life and it is a good one then it is most likely because you got a education.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 11 months ago

Too many people in this town consider it a good life when the postman brings them a check each month, food stamps, cell phone, etc etc etc. Unfortunately for us who pay for it.

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Sally_O 2 years, 11 months ago

We pay school taxes and don't like seeing our taxes going to waste, so we do have something to do with it. Some us us would like our children to get an good honest education.

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MRKIA 2 years, 11 months ago

WHEN ONE OF THESE UN OR UNDER-EDUCATED MISFITS FROM THIS SCHOOL SYSTEM HAVE A GUN IN YOUR FACE OR HAVE RANSACKED YOUR HOME OR AUTO PERHAPS YOU WILL GRASP THE CORRELATION AS TO HOW THIS HAS TO DO WITH EVERYONE .

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waltspecht 2 years, 11 months ago

Oh I think most folks here have a life. Part of that life is activism, calling attention to what is wrong and wasteful. Everyone has a buy in on this because of Federal Funding involved in the School Systems. By any chance do you have a personal motive in trying to silence the Public outcry over this incident. Bad can only defeat good when good people do nothing.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 11 months ago

A lot of us are voters and have kids in the schools here so this concerns us. You should be concerned too if you live in Albany. If you don't, then don't comment that we need a life. We all have a life and we are all entitled to freedom of speech. You, my friend, must not have anything else to look at and just want to troll this site. HOW ABOUT YOU GO GET A LIFE!!

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Outtahere 2 years, 11 months ago

Principle Baker is that you? Or is that Mrs. Riggins???

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waltspecht 2 years, 11 months ago

Will there be any followup for those that have left the system? Just in case they are teaching elsewhere, I think the new employer deserves to know.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 11 months ago

The state should take their license away so that they can NEVER teach again.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 11 months ago

The three that are no longer in the system are also no longer in Georgia public schools. But one of them has an educational consulting firm in East Point :)

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agirl_25 2 years, 11 months ago

How wonderful......an educational consulting firm......to consult them on what? My god the system is really broken isn't it...when people like that have no morals at all and open a consulting business concerning EDUCATION......

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TheBoss 2 years, 11 months ago

..The reassigned Teachers and Principals are taking "Cheating Management Classes" taught by Willie Weaver..Then they can get their jobs back.

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DoBetterInLife 2 years, 11 months ago

You are right how can a man beat his wife and get his job back when that's also wrong teaching children that it's ok to beat up on someone. That's more important in life too. How come there was no prosecution against that in anyway when there was someone who lied to the cops. There goes to show people that the City Of Albany still gonna do what they wanna no mater what happens. I really feel sorry for those teachers cause there's already no funds and help in the school system that they had so much pressure on them that they had to cheat to get money for their school to keep activities going.

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carbonrob 2 years, 11 months ago

The mere fact that Velvet Riggins even had the gall to sit in on this board meeting speaks volumes to the type of leadership (or lack thereof), the DCSS has.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 11 months ago

"Awaiting evidence"???? Here's all the evidence you need: 12 standard deviations on the likelihood that there was cheating taking place, which means in layman's terms, that the likelihood of cheating was over 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999+ percent!!

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 11 months ago

The list of so-called "strategic goals" looks like something put together by a 3rd grader. Real goals must be SMART, that is, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. To be meaningful at all, you would have a goal that says "Increase the graduation rate from X % to Y %" That way we, the funders of public school, would KNOW if a goal had been attained or not. As it is, Murfree can declare victory at any time (see his last video presentation to our state legislative representatives) and we would now know if it was true or not.

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someonewithalife 2 years, 11 months ago

For all of you all who were offended, obviously you aren't truly concerned with the well being of the students, you are interested in being messy to see how these individuals will be punished. If they have been removed from their positions dealing with the children that's all that matters. PSC will deal with all those who are guilty of cheating. It's not your battle to fight! So are you truly concerned with the children or just messy?! As far as your tax paying dollars being in question, did you have the same concern when the money came up missing from the budget under prior leadership and the teachers shouldered the deficiet by being furloughed. Where was your concern then when that person was allowed to retire and given a party at his exit. No one commented or investigated that! But your TAXPAYING money was wasted then. You all aren't caring citizens you all are just plain MESSY!!!!

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 11 months ago

Messy, could you please translate?

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waltspecht 2 years, 11 months ago

Last time I saw a picture, Dr. Whatley was female. She held the reins for the lunch money loss. Which I believe was the result of jumping into a Federal Program before they knew who was eligable. So the money was accounted for, just misspent. I did have a letter to the editor on that one. At the time of her retirement I did write a Letter to the editor. I even questioned the Cruise she was given, but it was supposedly paid for by private funds. All of the actions taken by the School System ultimately affect the Students. Plus your right, I don't like to see money wasted when it is so tight for so many folks.

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Outtahere 2 years, 11 months ago

So let me get this straight, since your writting style is a bit "messy" and I could not follow your train of thought, as long as the teacher's that were caught cheating are no longer in the class room, that's all that matters? Wow, thank you so much for your insight!!! Guess what posters - that's all that matters!!!! Um, YEAH RIGHT!!!! YOU NEED TO GET A DIFFERENT LIFE!!!

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 11 months ago

I'm with Sister_Ruby. What the heck do you mean by "messy"? We are involved citizens and if you take offense to involvement then you are part of the problem.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 11 months ago

I'm starting to think he/she means "messing" as in "messing with somebody".

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 11 months ago

Obviously "someonewitha(freecheckfor)life" you missed my post in BOLD print just for you. Obviously you are the one who does not care about the children and are just here to provoke the very people who work and pay the taxes that fund the freeloader programs you want the children to windup on just like you. Unlike you I want our children to EARN paychecks not food stamps. Your call to do NOTHING is the very attitude that allowed DCSS to get into the MESS it is in now. If you want a better future for the children do something besides criticizing the ones of us who want a better future for them.

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Amazed2 2 years, 11 months ago

As long as a Velvet Riggins remains actively seated on the DCSS Board the decisions of the entire board wil be Tainted and Smell like the business end of a Possum. Velvet Riggins has been arrested and charged with a Felony with a Special Prosecutor selected to prosecute the case. Yes Velvet Riggins is due her day in court to defend and dispute the charges for Fraud but until then if she does not have the Class to remover herself, the DCSS Board should remove her until the criminal case against her is resolved. IF she is found guilty as I suspect the outcome to be should be replaced.

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Amazed2 2 years, 11 months ago

Well another long time business chooses to leave this fine city. Jamison Bedding here since 1961 says Goodbye to Albany and all of the MESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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bambamcountryboy 2 years, 11 months ago

Don't be fooled. Every school system in Georgia had some classes with high eraser marks . The state investigation can not be over.

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dingleberry 2 years, 11 months ago

Wrong. Lee is a good example of very small numbers well below the state average in the one school with erasures--none in the others. Four percent of classes flagged was the state average. However, it is likely correct that every system had at least one school with one class with flagged erasures. The investigation is over from the state's perspective due to the manpower involved to make such investigations. Very expensive. The report names 32 people involved in the effort.

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bambamcountryboy 2 years, 11 months ago

I can not believe the Albany Herald has to approve my comments

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 11 months ago

Perhaps you should up your game :)

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 11 months ago

After you comment a good number of times, and they deem you safe, they put your comments up as soon as you post them.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 11 months ago

You can also be put into moderation if you are deemed to be a loose cannon ...

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Sally_O 2 years, 11 months ago

I'm sorry, but I don't think being reassigned is much of a punishment.

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 11 months ago

yeah, they are all prolly sitting over at Isabella playing solitare on the computer.

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agirl_25 2 years, 11 months ago

right, maybe they are waiting for someone to play solitaire with them....hahahaahaha....duh.....maybe if they are dumb enough to cheat they are too dumb to know solitiare is meant for one person.

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 11 months ago

LOL! You know there ARE ways to cheat on the windows version of Solitare.

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dingleberry 2 years, 11 months ago

At $4,000 a day according to WALB--$77,000 per month.

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 11 months ago

I think "someonewithalife" was trying to say that some of you are being "messy" as in people who just simply like to gossip and find fault in everything. People with nothing else better to do than to criticize and be negative. Thats what I "think" that person was trying say when they called you guys...."messy'.......So, are you "messy?"

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VSU 2 years, 11 months ago

We all know you are a very messy person. You're old lady knows you been messin on her.

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 11 months ago

Once again...you open your mouth and dumb stuff flies out

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bubbavet 2 years, 11 months ago

THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE "BLACK"

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43cop 2 years, 11 months ago

Well, the DCSS Board is going to bankrupt this county just as August did. To place the cheaters in a storage facility at TAXPAYERS EXPENSE when they need to be in jail is not acceptable. Come on D.A., can't you get a legal opinion so you can go forward with this or are you just plain afraid of re-election from people like Bush, Murfree and the likes. I have been in the Albany area for 60+ years and I never thought I would see this misfit bunch control this city and county and I just pray that they have to answer for this. May God bless the remaining good people that are stuck in this area.

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Amazed2 2 years, 11 months ago

I would feel better about the taxpayers paying them if they were assigned to washing school buses and police cars. Pay then the same if you have too just assign them to cleanup duty instead of Piddling.

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 11 months ago

Its obvious that all 49 people involved will not be fired....the witch-hunt is losing fire......too bad.....I guess you guys can stay in Lee County now......lol

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Spike 2 years, 11 months ago

You did accuse someone else of opening their mouth and sounding like an idiot right?

witch hunt  noun an intensive effort to discover and expose disloyalty, subversion, dishonesty, or the like, usually based on slight, doubtful, or irrelevant evidence.

Don't think what's going on at DCCS qualifies as a witch-hunt. Of course maybe you were thinking of midieval times and real witches but I'm fairly certain that its only cheating that's been identified and not witchcraft.
:-)

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 11 months ago

An Albany "witch-hunt"- is defined as an obvious attempt to remove certain people from positions of authority by use of exaggerated evidence from a biased outside agency encouraged by an aggresive small community whom is jealous of those persons for various reasons. (sound familiar?)

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 11 months ago

Coach, do you honestly believe every one of the 49 is innocent and that this is all a vast conspiracy orchestrated by the state? If you really do, then you are part of the problem.

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Spike 2 years, 11 months ago

You are in denial if you think the evidence is exaggerated AND the community is aggressive. If they were aggressive we wouldn't be tolerating or dealing with this now.

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TheBoss 2 years, 11 months ago

Let me Clarify coachjohnson42 statements: An Albany (Racist)"witch-hunt" - is defined as an obvious (valid) attempt to remove certain (Unqualified) people from positions of authority (Abuse) by use of exaggerated ( I was setup) evidence from a biased (legal) outside agency (GBI) encouraged by an aggresive small community (White Albany Tax Payers) whom is jealous (fed up) of those persons (incompetent) for various (valid) reasons. (sound familiar?)

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 11 months ago

I thought this was hilarious and so true. Good analysis "Boss"!

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 11 months ago

That's so off base. Its amazing how two people can look at the same thing and view it totally differently. Your assessment is cute, but way off sir....I bet you also thought Rodney King was resisting arrest too!! ......Yup, I knew it....

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Spike 2 years, 11 months ago

So what did you mean by it then Coach? Explain.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 11 months ago

And I bet you thought all those people beating up on (drugged out on Meth) Rodney King were white, too....didn't you?

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LGadson 2 years, 11 months ago

Just get each other's phone number and TALK! My God!!!!!!

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Margie 2 years, 11 months ago

As for the question regarding what will happen to Sally Whately? The answer is NOTHING!!! She is a hero and told the investigators everything that they needed to know. The School Board just didn't let her do her job, she could not be effective. So, all those principals and administrative staff that she supervised, just didn't allow her to do what needed to be done in her position. So, these teachers, who unfortunately followed the the directive of their boss will pay. Cheating is wrong, very wrong, and no excuse for it, whatso ever. The sad part about all of this is ONLY 3% are going to suffer the consequences for the error of their ways while others like Sally and some of the others are home free. SAD.

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Amazed2 2 years, 11 months ago

Prime example of the DCSS Board micro managing the Superintendent and Principals. Read the story about the teacher that was assigned to teach an english class by her principal. She was apparently qualified to teach English She got her a lawyer and appealed the system and loss step #1, Step #2 appeal to Murfree and lost and then she appealed #3 to the DCSS Board and they backed her and gave her back her original job thereby overuling the all other levels of management and supervison. That I consider to be Micro-Managing and meddling by the Board in an area that they do not belong. It is ok to set Policy but Let Policy work. This recent action by the Board just further supports why Sally Whatley got Frustrated and Quit.

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agirl_25 2 years, 10 months ago

I am sure this is old news to you but in case some have not seen it.....have a laugh.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFiR5Wqt_Q4

I suppose you know you made the Huffington Post a while back, huh?

Here is the article.......

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/20/cheating-teachers-implica_n_1160665.html?ref=education&icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl1%7Csec3_lnk3%26pLid%3D121982

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