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Teacher fired over ISAT cheating allegations says she is not a cheater

A Moline teacher says she will fight to get her job back, after being dismissed by the school board over cheating allegations.

“I know I am innocent and I didn’t do anything wrong,” said Rolonda Cabel, a 14 year veteran of the Moline School District.

On Tuesday, the Moline School Board voted unanimously to dismiss the tenured teacher.

Cabel was escorted out of her fourth grade class at Butterworth School on March 6th, and placed on leave. Specific allegations against Cabel have not been released, but sources say they involved allegations she provided answers to students during standardized testing.

“I’m not a cheater, my students would tell you that I’m a good person and they miss me. It hurts no doubt about it. I want to do what’s right. I want to clear my name, because I’m innocent,” she said in an interview Thursday with News 8 at her attorney’s office in Rock Island.

Cabel says during the first day of testing, she helped one child who was filling out the wrong answer sheet, and noticed another educator monitoring her class.

“I noticed the student was circling the answers in the test document book and so I stopped her and I told her no, no honey. Put the answer on the bubble sheet and I told her to go ahead and erase and do this, and when I looked up in the window, there was an administrator in the window and she gave me a thumbs up and I didn’t think nothing of it,” she said.

The district says it can’t comment on a personnel matter.

Cabel’s attorney Matt Pappas says he believes the teacher will get her job back when the case goes before a hearing officer.

“We’ll have to see what evidence they produce. The evidence we’ve seen is not sufficient,” he said. “Plus, we don’t know what the evidence is because it’s a changing ball. I think they came in with a preconceived result, they bit into it, and now are stubborn and won’t back off,” Pappas said.

Cabel says she’s had issues with a couple of administrators in the past.

She said right now, she’s moving forward and has received support from parents and her students.

“What I carry in my heart every day is a letter I received from my students telling me they believe I am innocent and I will carry that to my grave. That’s what gets me by everyday,” she said.

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