Detention for Teachers

December 12, 2012

According to the New York Times, Clarence Mumford, a former assistant principal and guidance counselor has been indicted by the United States attorney’s office for heading a “cheating ring” in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee.  Mr. Mumford collected fees ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 from people who wanted to ensure success when sitting for tests required by the Educational Testing Service.  These tests, known as Praxis exams, are taken by people seeking a teaching license or who wish to obtain further credentials in a specific area.  They are required in 37 states.

The criminal indictment is not yet on Westlaw or WestlawNext, but try a WestClip for it in ST-CRFILING-ALL and FED-CRFILING-ALL with the following search:

DT(INDICTMENT) & mumford

The indictment includes 49 counts including mail, wire and Social Security fraud according to the New York Times article (on Westlaw at 2012 WLNR 25180681.)

Students are usually the ones who are admonished for cheating, and the punishment for such infractions are mostly handled by the school.  But as Mr. Mumford’s case demonstrates, teachers can cheat too, and the consequences often amount to more than a detention or out-of-school suspension if they are discovered.

The following search in WestlawNext reveals a number of instances where teachers were terminated for either cheating themselves or helping others cheat:

teacher educator instructor /p cheat! /p test testing educat! school exam examination

Some interesting cases from this search include:

United States v. Redzic, 1:07 CR 110 (E.D. MO): Instructors at a truck driving school in St. Louis, MO were issuing Commercial Driver’s Licenses to unqualified students.  The instructors not only provided the students with answers to exams, but they also offered to take the test for the students for $50. The indictment contains similar counts for fraud and consipiracy.  See 2007 WL 6840147.

Rivera v. Cmty. Sch. Dist. Nine, 00 CIV. 8208 (S.D.N.Y.):  Teacher brought section 1983 action against school district after she was terminated for helping students cheat on standardized tests.  The court granted the Board of Education’s motion to dismiss. See 145 F.Supp.2d 302.

A look through the secondary sources in this search examines some of the reasons why teachers cheat.  For example, some of the articles explain that teachers feel pressured to reach certain goals after the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act.  You can read more about this in the following articles:

Richard C. Herrera, Policing State Testing Under No Child Left Behind: Encouraging Students with Disabilities to Blow the Whistle on Unscrupulous Educators, 80 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1433 (2007:

What is driving educators to cheat? The answer: federal legislation known by four words that are striking fear into educators throughout the nation–“No Child Left Behind.”

See also, Allison S. Owen, Leaving Behind A Good Idea: How No Child Left Behind Fails to Incorporate the Individualized Spirit of the Idea, 78 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 405 (2010)