Third APS principal enters guilty plea

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Third APS principal enters guilty plea

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HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Lucious Brown (right), former principal of Kennedy Middle School, watches his attorney Brian Steel as he speaks during a plea hearing of Lucious Brown on Friday, January 17, 2014.

Lucious Brown on Friday became the third principal to plead guilty in the Atlanta Public Schools test-cheating scandal.

Brown, who once headed Kennedy Middle School, pleaded guilty to a single felony count before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter. He was sentenced to two years on probation and ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service. He was also sentenced under the First Offender Act, meaning if he successfully completes his probation he will not have a conviction on his record.

Brown pleaded guilty to interference with government property — his school’s standardized tests.

Brown admitted he erased answers, changing them from wrong to right, on his students’ standardized tests in 2008 and 2009. He also acknowledged withholding information about his wrongdoing from GBI agents and the governor’s special investigators who were looking into the scandal.

Brown read a letter of apology, saying he had failed his students.

“As a result of my actions, time has vanished, lives have been destroyed, friendships lost, veracity misplaced, academic achievement scarred, the eruption of parental turmoil, the loss of millions of dollars and, most of all, our children are aggressively looking for solutions,” he wrote.

Brown became the 18th person indicted in the case to enter a guilty plea. Sixteen defendants remain charged, and four to five of them are continuing negotiations with prosecutors, Deputy District Attorney Fani Willis said at the conclusion of Brown’s hearing.

At Willis’ request, Baxter extended his deadline to accept negotiated pleas until Jan. 31.

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