Fired APS teacher regrets speaking out

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ATLANTA,None - A former special education instructor who claims she was fired for exposing test cheating at her elementary school says she has struggled to find work for two years.

“APS is known for its cheating scandal. That kind of precedes everything,” said Naomi Williams.

Williams sat down with Channel 2’s Tom Regan and showed him a wrongful termination lawsuit her attorney filed last week. The suit claims her principal retaliated against her for speaking out at meetings and reporting CRCT test cheating by another teacher.

She was terminated in April 2009 -- the day she reported the cheating. Williams said she was told that she was being fired for insubordination and using profane language, both of which she denies.

Since then, Williams said she has applied for dozens of teaching and nonteaching jobs without success. She said her apartment complex is closing and if she doesn’t find work, it will be difficult to lease another apartment. She worries she and her son will have no place to live.

“Had I known the impact this would have on me as a whistle-blower, I probably would not even have come forward,” said Williams.

One Georgia lawmaker is seeking to toughen the state's whistle-blower law to protect jobs of teachers and other employees who speak out. It will more clearly define the safeguards teachers are afforded if they are punished after reporting wrongdoing.

“This says that Georgia is giving teachers and state employees more teeth to prevent something like from happening again," said State Representative Ralph Long.

Williams said she knows of other teacher whistle-blowers who were fired and are struggling.

“One teacher had to take a drastic pay cut. But like she said, she has to support her family,” said Williams.

A school system representative said the district cannot comment on the issue because it is a personal matter and pending litigation.