Bob Wilson, one of the people tasked by former Gov. Sonny Perdue to investigate CRCT cheating, is sworn in before testifying during the trial of APS supervisor Tamara Cotman on Tuesday afternoon August 27, 2013.
Photo: BEN GRAY / BGRAY@AJC.COM
Photo: BEN GRAY / BGRAY@AJC.COM

Atlanta cheating investigator testifies about “go to hell” meeting

An investigator of cheating in Atlanta Public Schools said Tuesday administrators interfered with efforts to find the truth.

Bob Wilson testified in the trial of former area director Tamara Cotman, who is accused of influencing a witness as a result of a meeting in which she said principals could tell investigators to “go to hell.”

“The whole reason the ‘go to hell’ meeting was held was because of the investigation into cheating,” Wilson said.

Prosecutors claim that Cotman harassed and demoted former Scott Elementary Principal Jimmye Hawkins when she informed the school board about the “go to hell” meeting.

Wilson said her removal from Scott Elementary was “highly suspicious.”

“It was very clear there was tremendous pressure on these teachers, and just as there was pressure for them to cheat, there was a pressure for them to remain silent. Those who spoke up got punished,” Wilson said.

Cotman is one of 35 former administrators and teachers accused participating in a scheme to change students’ answers on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test. She’s the first of the defendants to go to trial.

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