Convicted educators report to jail in APD school cheating scandal

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Two of the former Atlanta Public Schools educators convicted in the cheating scandal are now in jail.

Former Administrator Tamara Cotman Johnson and former teacher Angela Williamson turned themselves into the Fulton County Jail Tuesday afternoon, nine years after the cheating scandal first broke.

Cotman Johnson and Williamson were both convicted of racketeering.

Cotman Johnson still maintains her innocence despite her conviction.

"I do want people to know, I am going into prison with the reality that not a single person that worked under my supervision was ever charged. Every principal that worked with me was cleared, yet I was charged with racketeering," a defiant Cotman Johnson exclaimed.

Community activists stood with Cotman Johnson at a 10 a.m. press conference outside the Fulton County Courthouse. They called on Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard and retired Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter to reduce the sentences.

Cotman said prosecutors manufactured evidence against her and sought people out who would say bad things about her.

She took the long walk into the Fulton County Jail as supporters chanted and held her hand around 3:20 Tuesday afternoon.

Cotman Johnson was sentenced to 10 years with 3 years to serve in prison. Ms. Williamson was sentenced to 5 years, with 2 years to serve in prison.

Williamson avoided the camera lights and turned herself in earlier in the afternoon. The community activists say the DA and judge should have considered other alternatives.

"They could have been fined, they could have been suspended, there could have been probation, there could have been revoking of teacher licenses. We have gone to the ultimate extreme of incarceration," an angry Rev. Timothy McDonald.

"At the end of the day Judge Baxter and Paul Howard sacrificed these teachers at the altar of a national movement that has as its basis charter schools and a bunch of other stuff that had nothing to do with this so-called cheating scandal," community activist Derrick Boazman replied.

A Fulton County Jail official said it could take a week or up to a month for the two women to be transferred to the state prison system.