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Teacher Accused in Test Cheating Scandal, Others Could be Partners in Crime

JACKSON MISS. – The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) has issued a complaint for cheating on state test against a former Heidelberg Elementary School teacher.

“Our investigation has yielded documented evidence, eyewitness testimony and forensic analysis, which substantiates Ms. (Frances) Smith-Kemp cheated during the 2012-13 school year,” announced State Superintendent Carey Wright at a Thursday afternoon press conference in Jackson.   Wright said her agency is seeking to revoke the license of Smith-Kemp, who is now employed as a teacher at Oakhurst Intermediate School, also in Clarksdale.  “Ms. Smith Kemp coached students during testing or altered or interfered with student responses… (and) participated in, directed, aided, counciled, assisted in, encouraged, or failed to report any acts in violation of state law during the administration of the 2013 MCT 2.  These actions are grounds for revocation of Ms. Smith-Kemp’s teaching license.”

Smith-Kemp is scheduled to have an administrative hearing before the Mississippi Education Licensure Commission on May 11.

MDE began its investigation into possible cheating in the Clarksdale Municipal School District May of last year.  Wright said Thursday, the investigation continues and more teachers are believed to have been involved.  “We plan to go forward and seek the appropriate disciplinary action.”

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