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Supporters of convicted Atlanta schools educators to hold vigil

Attorneys and family members representing convicted Atlanta Public Schools educators in the test-cheating scandal plan to hold a vigil tonight in response to a sentencing hearing this morning.

The peaceful public vigil is set for 6 p.m. outside the Fulton County courthouse, where 10 former APS educators were sentenced today by Judge Jerry Baxter. Clergy members as well as civil rights and other civic leaders are also expected to attend the vigil.

At Tuesday’s hearing, three former top administrators were given the maximum 20-year sentence, with seven years to be served in prison and 13 on probation, and fines of $25,000 to be paid by each.

Five lower-ranking educators — those who were principals, teachers and testing coordinators — received sentences of up to five years with at least one-year in prison and hefty fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. All the defendants were granted first-offender status, meaning their record would be wiped clean after they served their time.

Only two of the 10 convicted educators, Donald Bullock and Pamela Cleveland, chose to admit guilt and waive the right to appeal. They did not receive prison time. An 11th convicted educator, Shani Robinson, recently had a baby and is due in court for sentencing in August.

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