Teacher Fights Back - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

04.19.07

Teacher Fights Back

Staci Brantwein with her attorney Mike Warner Staci Brantwein with her attorney Mike Warner

It started with allegations she helped her students cheat on the TAKS test. Now White Deer Elementary teacher Staci Brantwein is trying to clear her name by suing the person she says slandered her reputation.

NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg sat down exclusively with the 5th grade teacher to get her story... and the latest on the investigation into the alleged cheating, which Brantwein says never happened.

Brantwein filed this lawsuit today against the mother of one of her students. It accuses the mother of spreading falsehoods that Brantwein helped her students cheat on the TAKS test, among other things. Brantwein says the lawsuit is the only way to get her to stop.

"I've cried a lot of tears over this, I was devastated when they told me to get my purse and leave I can't live there with those kinds of false things being said about me," says Brantwein.

"If you defame someone's professional reputation, and tell others they are helping students cheat - that's just wrong. Primarily we are trying to stop the rumor mill," says Mike Warner, Brantwein's lawyer.

Brantwein has been on paid suspension since April 4th, the day after the alleged TAKS cheating incident. The school district is investigating. NewsChannel 10 obtained a copy of a letter from the principal of White Deer Elementary, stating that he 'found no evidence that the teacher helped/assisted any 5th grade student taking the math test.' Despite that letter Brantwein says her job is in jeopardy.

"The Superintendent said we've looked over the allegations this is what we are sending to the Texas Education Agency, you will be terminated this is what will happen," says Brantwein.

"If she comes forward and apologizes or will just cease her current behavior that hopefully would take care of it," says Warner.

We have tried to contact white deer I.S.D. Superintendent Danny Ferrell and Elementary School Principal Jeff Nicklas, but neither have returned our calls. As far as the slander lawsuit is concerned, Brantwein and Warner are waiting to hear from the defendant.

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