A fifth grade teacher of southwest Atlanta’s Dobbs Elementary School Shayla Smith (pictured) is facing being terminated from her job because she allegedly had a simple reason for helping her students cheat in her class two years ago: “They were dumb as hell.” Or at least, that is what another teacher alleges Smith said at a recent tribunal hearing that was spurred by the cheating scandal, reports The Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
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According to Schajuan Jones, who taught a fourth grade class across the hall from Smith, she testified to the Atlanta Public Schools Tribunal on Monday that she overheard her colleague state, “The words were, ‘I had to give your kids, or your students, the answers because they’re dumb as hell.’”
During her testimony, Smith said she did not trust Jones and blatantly blurted out that she was a “liar” as well.
When asked why she was not forthcoming with her information about the accused, Jones stated that she feared reprisals from the school’s principal. Jones, who admitted that she and Smith did not have the best working relationship, has also testified at two other state test-cheating hearings.
A former student of Smith’s, who is now an eighth grader, also took the stand and said that she was oblivious to the cheating scandal against her former teacher until a news report last year prompted her to tell her mother about the incident. The unidentified child also told the three-member tribunal that Smith had actually approached her desk at the time and pointed to the correct answer while she was taking the test.
What prompted the hearing besides Jones’ allegations was that a state analysis uncovered an abnormally high number of changed test responses from incorrect to correct on tests proctored by Smith.
If the tribunal decides to terminate Smith, she will be the 17th educator to be released by a tribunal involving an academic statewide probe with regards to cheating. Thus far, 110 of the nearly 180 educators named in the state investigation have quit or retired. Another 16 named educators have been reinstated.
There are 21 more tribunals to go.