Former DeKalb County Principal Angela Jennings turned herself in at the DeKalb County Jail Thursday morning to face charges that she allegedly removed students temporarily from enrollment records at Rock Chapel Elementary School so their 2010 Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests wouldn’t count against the school’s average scores.
Her lawyer, Stephen Roberts, called Jennings a “career educator” who has “maintained her innocence from the beginning” and “still maintains her innocence.”
“She cooperated from the beginning,” Roberts told reporters outside the jail. “This was over two years ago that she voluntarily gave a statement to the DeKalb School System and to the DeKalb District Attorney’s office, and here it is, two years later, almost to the date, that she gets indicted.”
Roberts described the charges brought against his client as “ticky-tack.”
“It’s not anything like the Atlanta cheating scandal where tests were erased and there was organized cheating,” he said.
“This is an allegation of children either being on the roll or not being on the roll at the appropriate time,” Roberts said. “I think there were a total of eight children involved that were, at this particular school, removed from the rolls for reasons of not having proper immunizations, proper documentations, things that they had to have to be enrolled in the school system, and they’re counting that as cheating.”
Roberts said the allegations against his Jennings have “had a huge impact on her.”
His client has been working for the past year and a half in Dubai, teaching English, Roberts said.
Jennings was booked into the jail just after 9:30 Thursday morning, and was released on bond about two hours later.
Former DeKalb Principal Agnes Flanagan was booked into the DeKalb County Jail on Wednesday is also now out on bond. Flanagan, the former principal of Cedar Grove Middle School, is accused of telling teachers to change students’ answers on the 2009 CRCT tests. Flanagan worked for the DeKalb school district from 1988 until 2012.
Flanagan, Jennings and Derrick Wooten, who was an assistant principal at Stoneview Elementary School, were indicted on Wednesday. All three are charged with multiple felony counts, many of which could bring up to a decade in prison.
Wooten is accused of ordering teachers to mark truants as having attended school in 2010 and 2011 so the school might meet federal attendance guidelines. He has been out on bond since his original indictment two years ago. Wooten was re-indicted with technical changes to charges originally leveled in 2011, so he does not have to turn himself into the sheriff’s office again, said Erik Burton, a spokesman for DeKalb District Attorney Robert James.
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