Former teacher says blowing whistle on cheating scandal cost her job


A special education teacher told Channel 2 Action News she tried to help her students during the Atlanta Public Schools cheating investigation but instead she lost her job.

Her lawyer told Channel 2's Mark Winne her evaluations changed from good to bad after she blew the whistle.

The case could come down to the question of whether Imogene Redwine is a casualty of coming forward to help expose the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal. It's not one of the many criminal cases that came through this same courthouse, but a lawsuit.

Redwine’s position, according to her lawyer, Julie Oinonen, is that she got good evaluations for years as a special ed teacher but after she blew the whistle on allegations of cheating at Brown Middle School, things changed, and during the time she cooperated with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Fulton County district attorney in their investigations of cheating in Atlanta Public Schools, she was targeted.

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Oinonen suggests that in the 2013-2014 school year as Redwine continued to work with the district attorney, she got bad evaluations her lawyer suggested were designed to get rid of her, and she lost her job.

Janna Nugent, representing Atlanta Public Schools, said the non-renewal of Redwine’s contract had nothing to do with the cheating scandal or her cooperation in exposing it.

Nugent alleges under enhanced state standards Redwine was rated less than proficient on some, though not all, of her evaluations and she lost her job based strictly on job performance. 

The first witness, Bob Wilson, said he was one of the governor's special investigators on the cheating scandal.

When asked if he was aware of anyone at Brown interfering with the investigation, he said, "I am not."

According to a document, the plaintiff said:

Ms. Redwine was gravely concerned that learning disabled students who struggled to read and write were obtaining such inflated scores that they were testing out of their special education status. 

The defense maintained the administrators in place at the time she lost her job were trying to safeguard the services to which special education students are entitled.

 


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