Target: Kasim Reed, Mayor of Atlanta
Goal: Lower the bonds for the 35 Atlanta teachers facing charges for cheating scandal.
Recently, 35 teachers, principals, and administrators from multiple Atlanta schools were supposed turn themselves in to jail with bonds set as high 7.5 million dollars. While all of the teacher’s lawyers are currently trying to lower those bonds, only one of the seven teachers who turned themselves in was given a bond of $50,000 and Theresia Copeland, a 56-year old grandmother, received a lower bond of $1 million dollars. As Warren Fortson, Mrs. Copeland’s lawyer, said “Al Capone, I understand, didn’t have to post a $1 million bond,” he said. “I don’t think a Cobb County grandmother needs $1 million to secure her.”
Even though these teachers have all been arrested for serious crimes, involving raising student’s standardized test scores to ensure job safety and annual bonuses, a $7.5 million bond is extremely excessive.
Dr. Hall, who was the superintendent during the scandal, and the key indictment of the 35 convicted teachers and administrators, is facing up to 40 years in prison and a $7.5 million bail. Though she has not yet turned herself in, the punishment does not fit the crime, especially when bankers who defrauded the American economy are being set free seemingly daily.
In addition, numerous clergy members of local Atlanta parishes protested the jailing calling the court’s decision racist. All of the 35 people convicted are black and have been prosecuted by white investigators. Reverend Timothy McDonald, a local pastor and spokesman for Concerned Black Clergy said, “Let’s just be for real. You can call it racist, you can call it whatever you want, but this is overkill. We have seen people with much deeper crimes with much less bond set.”
At the very least the bonds set for these teachers need to be lowered and the considerable jail time reduced. Please urge the mayor of Atlanta to ensure these drastic measures are made more reasonable.
Dear Mr. Reed,
The current case involving 35 teachers, principals, and administrators in a standardized test cheating scandal is completely out of control. Though charged with very serious crimes, multimillion dollar bonds and decades in jail time is totally excessive.
In addition, the protests on April 2 at Fulton Country Jail involving members of the Concerned Black Clergy calling the court’s drastic decision “racist” and an indication of much deeper racial problems in Atlanta.
Especially when compared to the massive financial fraud on Wall Street, the crimes committed by these teachers are miniscule and their punishment appears absurd. By simply readjusting the punishments and lower their bonds this very sensitive situation can be handled quickly and with dignity for all involved.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Aaron Knox via Flickr