Dazhon Darien, a former high school athletic director who lied on his résumé, had his references, credentials and fingerprints checked when he was hired at Baltimore County Public Schools, superintendent Myriam Rogers said Thursday.

Speaking publicly about Darien for the first time since a Baltimore Banner investigation uncovered his litany of false claims, Rogers blamed loopholes in the hiring process that let him in.

Darien stands accused of impersonating Pikesville High School’s principal with artificial intelligence, leading the public to believe the principal made racist and antisemitic comments and wreaking havoc at the school.

Rogers said Thursday afternoon at a press conference in Towson that she wouldn’t speak about Darien individually, but insisted the school system’s hiring process was properly followed.

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The Baltimore Banner found at least 16 false claims on job application materials Darien submitted to Baltimore County schools. Those included degrees he didn’t earn, jobs he didn’t hold and certifications he didn’t get — credentials he needed to meet the minimum qualifications for his athletic director job.

Rogers said Thursday parents can be assured the school system’s human resources department does its due diligence.

“But that doesn’t mean that even if the individual passes through successfully all of these steps that there can’t be misinformation that’s included,” she said.

Rogers didn’t address whether Darien’s college transcripts had been checked, a step the school system has previously said is part of its hiring process.

The room was much more crowded than Rogers’ typical press briefings, and reporters were limited to two or three questions. In attendance was Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr., who praised Rogers’ leadership.

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Also in attendance was Izzy Patoka, chairman of the County Council. He told The Banner last week that the county government will need to step in to help avoid something similar from happening again.

The school board, Rogers said, recently approved a new ERP system, or software that controls a company’s core business processes, including hiring.

“It makes sure that we have high quality data integrity in every single thing that we do. Not only with members in BCPS, but anyone trying to come to team BCPS,” the superintendent said.

A school system spokesperson pointed to a May 7 meeting where school officials explained how the ERP process will streamline onboarding and improve payroll. However, no specifics were given on how it changes the applicant vetting process.

Among the credentials Darien lacked was a Maryland teaching certificate, a requirement for educators in public schools. Before taking the athletic director job at Pikesville last fall, Darien taught in Randallstown High School as a social studies teacher for several weeks last spring. It’s unclear whether Darien ever claimed to have a Maryland teaching certificate, or whether the school system checked if he did.

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Rogers said upgrading the school system’s technology could help.

“We are closing those loopholes and working together across agencies to cross-check and minimize the occurrences that if someone does make a poor choice, for us to catch them as soon as possible,” she said.

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