Say What Now? Former High School Athletic Director Arrested and Charged with Using AI to Frame Principal |

Say What Now? Former High School Athletic Director Arrested and Charged with Using AI to Frame Principal

Today (April 25), the Baltimore Banner reported that a former athletic director of a high school was arrested by Baltimore County Police after allegedly using new technology to impersonate a principal.

via: Baltimore Banner

Dazhon Darien, 31, was charged with disrupting school activities, after investigators determined Darien faked Eiswert’s voice and circulated the audio on social media in January, according to the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office. Darien’s nickname, DJ, was among the names mentioned in the audio clips he allegedly faked.

“The audio clip … had profound repercussions,” police wrote in charging documents. “It not only led to Eiswert’s temporary removal from the school but also triggered a wave of hate-filled messages on social media and numerous calls to the school. The recording also caused significant disruptions for the PHS staff and students.”

He is also charged with theft and retaliating against a witness, related to alleged illicit payments he made to a school athletics coach, as well as stalking, prosecutors said.

Eiswert’s voice, which police and AI experts believe was simulated, made disparaging comments toward Black students and the surrounding Jewish community, was widely circulated on social media.

Questions about the audio’s authenticity quickly followed. Police wrote in charging documents that Darien had accessed the school’s network on multiple occasions in December and January searching for OpenAI tools, and used “Large Language Models” that practice “deep learning, which involves pulling in vast amounts of data from various sources on the internet, can recognize text inputted by the user, and produce conversational results.” They also connected Darien to an email account that had distributed the recording.

The voice refers to “ungrateful Black kids who can’t test their way out of a paper bag” and questions how hard it is to get those students to meet grade-level expectations. The speaker uses names of people who appear to be staff members and says they should not have been hired, and that he should get rid of another person “one way or another.”

“And if I have to get one more complaint from one more Jew in this community, I’m going to join the other side,” the voice said.

Darien was being investigated as of December in a theft investigation that had been initiated by Eiswert. 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.

Police say the clip was received by three teachers the night before it went viral. The first was Darien; a third said she received the email and then got a call from Darien and teacher Shaena Ravenell telling her to check her email. Ravenell told police that she had forwarded the email to a student’s cell phone, “who she knew would rapidly spread the message around various social media outlets and throughout the school,” and also sent it to the media and the NAACP, police said.

She did not mention receiving it from Darien until confronted about his involvement. Ravenell has not been charged with a crime and could not immediately be reached for comment.

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