Ten out of 11 of the Atlanta Public Schools educators found guilty of racketeering and other charges this week in a test-cheating scandal are sitting in jail, hoping they'll be released on bond until their sentencing. One of the convicted isn't behind bars because she is in her final months of pregnancy.
All 11 were handed down their sentences by a jury of six men and six women on the eighth day of deliberations on Wednesday, April 1, 2015, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Some of the convicted face sentences of up to 20 years for conspiracy verdicts, and others are up against felony charges that could each bring five to 10 years in prison pet count.
The verdicts conclude a seven-month trial and years of allegations that teachers and administrators conducted and covered widespread cheating in Atlanta's public schools. An investigation found that test sheets submitted by students had an inordinate number of answers erased and changed to correct answers.
The convicted former teachers and administrators—21 others have already pleaded guilty to lesser charges—were taken into custody right after the verdicts were read, led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
The incident is one of the largest scandals to hit a U.S. school district. It was uncovered by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2008, which found a suspicious number of improved scores on tests at local public schools. The governor called for a special investigation after the newspaper published several reports about the alleged cheating.