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Clarksdale Teacher Admits to Cheating
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A Clarksdale educator is losing her teaching license after being accused of cheating on state tests.

As part of an agreement arranged by the Mississippi Department of Education, Frances Smith-Kemp voluntarily surrendered her license yesterday, after admitting that she interfered with student answers on a state assessment in 2013.

Tommie Cardin is a lawyer who represented the state during the hearing. He says the investigation into cheating at the Clarksdale School District does not end with Smith-Kemp.

"[The] next step is the continuing investigation," says Cardin. "And if there are other complaints that need to be filed, they will be filed."

MDE officials began looking into cheating in the Clarksdale School District last year, when students who scored well on assessments, showed up to school the following year not nearly as academically prepared.

Superintendent Dennis Dupree, who initially denied cheating took place in his school district, says the situation is unfortunate.

"We don't tolerate cheating in our district, and we never will," Dupree says. "It's unfortunate that it happened, but we will keep educating students the way that we should. The right way."

Smith-Kemp will be eligible to reapply for her teaching license in two years if she cooperates with the state's larger inquiry into cheating in the Clarksdale School District.