by: Tom Regan Updated:
ATLANTA - A surprise witness has stepped forward to defend an Atlanta Public School teacher who faces termination for his role in the district’s test cheating scandal.
Channel 2's Tom Regan went to APS headquarters in downtown Atlanta, where a 12-year-old Dobb Elementary School student took the stand to defend his former fourth grade teacher. It was the first time a student has testified in the APS tribunals.
"When I was in class, he didn't show anyone the answers or prompt us to do anything," Juantavious Monroe said.
He took the state’s standardized Criterion-Referenced Competency Test under accused test supervisor Derrick Broadwater’s watch in 2009. State investigators accused Broadwater of using voice inflections and other prompting to encourage students to correct wrong answers.
Monroe said he did nothing like that.
“I know he's a good teacher and didn't cheat on tests," he said.
APS lawyers said Broadwater admitted to cheating violations while being interviewed by investigators, but the teacher denied that claim on the stand and insists he only reminded students to make they checked answers before finishing their tests.
"That means go back and check over your work because you might see something you don't like. That's what I teach my students on all tests. That's what I what I talked to the GBI about," said Broadwater.
Monroe said Broadwater has helped keep him out of trouble and on track to becoming a successful student. He told Regan he wants to become a lawyer.
"I hope they give him his job back," Monroe said.
The teacher's tribunal hearing before a panel that will judge whether the evidence against him warrants termination has been recessed until tapes of Broadwater's interview with the GBI can be presented. An attorney said the tapes are in possession of the Fulton County District Attorney.