Former Atlanta school superintendent and 34 others charged with racketeering in cheating probe
The former superintendent of Atlanta’s public school system was among 35 people indicted on Friday in connection with a cheating scandal that dates back to 2001.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Beverly Hall, former Atlanta Public Schools human relations director Millicent Few and other administrators were indicted on 57 counts of making false statements, along with five counts of theft, two counts of influencing a witness and one count of racketeering.
According to WAGA-TV, a grand jury recommended bail be set at $7.5 million for Hall. She, along with her fellow defendants, is expected to turn herself in to authorities by Tuesday. Hall faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
The indictment contends that Hall and her colleagues of creating a culture of “fear and intimidation” while trying to boost the district’s scores on the state-mandated Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests.
The indictment accused Hall and the other administrators — which include teachers, principals and assistant principals, testing coordinators and human resources personnel — of conspiring to “either cheat, conceal cheating or retaliate against whistle-blowers” in order to win the district the financial benefits that were afforded to high-scoring schools.
According to The New York Times, Hall resigned from her position in 2011, shortly before the release of an 800-page investigation that uncovered a history of institutional cheating that came to involve 178 educators in 44 schools. Hall has consistently denied that she was involved in the conspiracy.
Watch video of the press conference announcing the indictment, posted by the Associated Press on Friday, below.