Local teacher suspended

OCALA, Fla. -- FOX 35 News has obtained documents from the Marion County School District that explain why the school board decided Tuesday to suspend special needs teacher, Megan Fairchild, for 20 days without pay.

"Basically, this boils down to cheating, if you really want to call it that," Kevin Christian, spokesperson for Marion County Public Schools said.

The district launched an investigation in spring 2015, after it states, Fairchild was seen on classroom video filling in answer sheets on Florida's Alternate Assessment test, without getting those answers from four students in her class.  According to Christian, one of the students communicated by blinking.

"You're supposed to bubble it in based on what the student says.  How the student responds," Christian explained.  "It may be the blink of an eye, the uttering of a sound or something that the students indicates which one they want marked as their answer."

The documents state here her students had nothing written in the test booklets and another had the same answer for every question.  Christian said the short amount of time it took to finish the tests sent up a red flag.

The school district told FOX 35 Fairchild is back in the classroom at Maplewood Elementary School and still teaching.  She was out during the investigation.  We're told those days off counted toward her suspension.

The district says there's a lesson here.  "I think the biggest lesson for all of us is that it's never appropriate to cheat.  We teach our students to be honest and correct."

Christian says the district felt her abilities and skills were valuable enough to keep her in the classroom.

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