Rocket City teacher accused of helping student change answers on test files appeal to suspension

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)-- The Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary teacher accused of helping a student change answers on a standardized test this past spring wants a judge to step in and keep her in the classroom despite the school board voting to suspend her for 15 days.

Eleanor Burks, a longtime fourth-grade teacher at MLK, had testified in front of the school board last week, but the board upheld her suspension.

The school board suspended Burks for 15 days following a hearing July 24.

Burks filed paperwork Friday evening asking a Madison County Circuit Court judge to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent her suspension.

School board leaders allege Burks assisted a student in changing test responses on a May 5 standardized test.

Cathy McNeal, director of assessment and accountability for the school district, testified before the school board that Burks stopped a student who was incorrectly answering a question on an ACT Aspire writing test and asked him if he had read the directions.

The student ultimately erased and reworked his answer.

The board upheld Burks' suspension in a 3-0 vote. Board vice president Laurie McCaulley addressed school district employees afterward, asking that they all review the policies and procedures they must follow to do their jobs properly.

"We don't want to see nothing like this come before us again," she said.

"I think we're sending an important message to the public today that we will not let any testing irregularities go,"  board member Jennie Robinson told our news partners The Huntsville Times following the hearing.




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