James Island Charter teacher accused of helping students cheat

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- A James Island Charter High School teacher has been accused of helping her students cheat by copying test books and giving students access to tests before the testing period. The cheating went on between 2008 and 2013, officials said.

According to affidavits, Rachel Beusing Tisdale violated mandatory test security laws. The State Law Enforcement Division investigated the case.{}

According to Tisdale's page on the school's website, she is a 1999 graduate of James Island High School and a 2003 graduate of Clemson University.{}

She started teaching at the school in January 2004 as a teacher of{}Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and Math Tech I and II, she wrote on the page. Tisdale also served as the varsity cheerleading coach since 2004.{}

"I'm sure that this year will be full of ups and downs, but I will do my best that it's the best year we could hope for," she wrote.

The Charleston County School District deferred comment to the school or the Charter Board chair. The school's principal said Tisdale is still employed at the school.

Acting Principal Richard Gordon declined an interview, but provided a statement that said an investigation started after spotting issues in testing data.{}

"Last year, we discovered some testing irregularities. We contacted the school district. From there CCSD did its part. Bottom line is the administration and staff works tirelessly to ensure staff is following correct policies and procedures. We remain steadfast in our duties. We monitor very closely. We will continue to ensure we're following all policies going forward and are monitoring the situation," Gordon said.

The former principal of the school said when the information about cheating came to light last May, he had his testing coordinator report it to CCSD.

Dr. Bob Bohnstengel said the questions came about after students took the Algebra I end-of-course test for ninth graders.{}

"A student in class reported to their teacher that the questions on the test they were taking were similar, if not the same, as a review sheet they had recently completed. That teacher became concerned and then reported it to us," Bohnstengel said.{}

The SLED investigation began in June, he said.