Baltimore Teacher Accused of AI Hate Hoax Also Allegedly Faked Most of His Resume

Back in April we learned about a hate crime hoax in the city of Baltimore in which a black suspect used AI technology to frame a white principal for using racist language about students. The suspect’s name in that case is Dazhon Darien. 

At the time, Darien was Pikesville High School’s athletic director. Police concluded he created the AI deepfake of principal Eric Eiswert because Eiswert had opened an investigation into some suspicious payments 

Police say Darien had authorized a $1,916 payment to the school’s junior varsity basketball coach, who was also his roommate, under the pretense that he was an assistant girls soccer coach. He was not, school officials said. Eiswert determined that Darien had submitted the payment to the school payroll system, bypassing proper procedures. Darien had been notified of the investigation, police said.

The plan almost worked. Principal Eiswert was denounced and suspended from his job. He received threats and had to have police guarding his home. All the while, he maintained he’d never made the comments heard in the audio “recording.” Eventually, several experts in AI agreed that the audio was a fairly basic deepfake and Dazhon Darien was arrested.

But it turns out there is more to the story. Not only did Darien (allegedly) fake the audio he also faked most of his own resume. Actually, he submitted two different resumes under two slightly different names. An investigation by the Baltimore Banner found more than a dozen claims in those resumes were not true.

The résumés were submitted, the source said, alongside a document claiming Darien held a “preliminary single subject teaching credential” from California. But the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing said he had applied for a teaching certificate that was never granted.

Before Darien became Pikesville’s athletic director, where he made over $76,500,he was at Randallstown High School for several weeks last spring as a social studies teacher, a job that requires a Maryland teaching certificate. He didn’t have that either, a spokesperson for the Maryland State Department of Education said in an email. He didn’t even have a conditional certification, a temporary credential for teachers who are pursuing licensure while teaching. It’s unclear whether Darien ever claimed to have a Maryland teaching certificate.

The master’s degree Darien claimed he earned from Southern New Hampshire University in 2013 doesn’t exist.The institution said Darien enrolled online in 2016 but never participated in any courses and was withdrawn from the program later that year.

And Langston University officials told The Banner he didn’t graduate from the institution, where he claimed he earned his bachelor’s degree in history education and amaster’s degree in educational leadership…

Darien listed membership in at least two professional associations that have no record him. On one résumé he claimed to have held a high school football coaching job in Texas at the same time the other résumé said he was a dean of student engagement at a college in Indiana.

There’s more but you get the idea. Darien was the George Santos of Baltimore County Public Schools. 

The school system said they ran all the usual checks on Darien including doing a background check and checking his references before giving him a job, but it’s hard to see how that could be true. Anyone can make up information on a resume but clearly Darien’s claims didn’t stand up to any actual scrutiny. 

All of which leads to an obvious question. If Darien could pull this off, how many others currently working in Baltimore County Public Schools were hired based on fake qualifications? Given the state of many Baltimore schools, how would anyone even know?

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