Teacher launches federal lawsuit after firing

by: Rachel Stockman Updated:

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ATLANTA —

An Atlanta Public School teacher fired during the cheating scandal has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the district.
 
“I am not going to admit to something that I have not done,” said Melvin McClain, who taught at University Community Academy, an Atlanta Public Schools charter school.
 
For more than three years, McClain says he’s waited for a hearing to defend himself against the allegations that appeared in a state investigative report from 2011, which said he helped a student cheat on the CRCT test.
 
The report also named about 180 other teachers and administrators.
 
“To sit here in limbo without any hearing of any sort, your life just on hold because what you’ve done and planned your career around all your life has been taken away because of what someone has said and you know it is not true,” McClain said.
 
McClain said he’s asked for a hearing and has not received one. He also said no other schools will hire him with an open ethics investigation in his file.
 
That is why this week he filed a federal lawsuit against the district, seeking $1 million in damages
 
“My due process rights have been violated. You refuse to give me a hearing, you want me to admit to something that I did not do,” McClain said.
 
McClain said he is one of several teachers who fell through the cracks.
 
“I have never been called in to defend myself, and this situation is based on something someone else said,” said Wanda Williams, who also taught at University Community Academy.
 
“It is as if I’ve been placed on a back burner and I’m just going to burn,” McClain said.
 
An official with APS refused to comment on ongoing litigation.