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Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 4:10am

Cheating Scandal Surrenders Begin

The first of more than 30 defendants expected to surrender by Tuesday's deadline in Atlanta's school cheating scandal have turned themselves in to authorities.

Fulton County Jail records show that Kennedy Middle School instructional coach Tameka Goodson was in custody early Tuesday on charges of racketeering and making false statements and writings.

Her attorney, Raymond Lail, told WAGA-TV that Goodson is "absolutely not guilty of these charges."

WSB-TV reports that a second suspect, Usher/Collier Heights Elementary School test coordinator Donald Bullock, turned himself in around 6 a.m. to face charges related to the scandal.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Benteen Elementary testing coordinator Theresia Copeland also surrendered Tuesday.

Thirty-five educators within the Atlanta school system, including former Superintendent Beverly Hall, were named in a 65-count indictment last week that alleges a broad conspiracy to cheat, conceal cheating or retaliate against whistleblowers in an effort to bolster student test scores and, as a result, receive bonuses for improved student performance.

Prosecutors set a Tuesday deadline for all defendants to surrender to authorities.

At least a few had intended to turn themselves in Monday, but jail spokeswoman Tracy Flanagan said that no defendants had been able to turn themselves in Monday because of a delay in the filing of the arrest warrants in the case.