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Principal says recordings of derogatory remarks were not his voice

A Maryland community is concerned about racist and antisemitic comments made in an audio clip that some say might have been AI-generated.
Principal says recordings of derogatory remarks were not his voice
Posted at 3:55 PM, Jan 18, 2024

Baltimore County Public Schools in Maryland is investigating a principal at the county's Pikesville High School for alleged derogatory remarks about students and staff which were heard on a recording. But officials and tech experts are still not certain about the authenticity of the recording. 

While the community is concerned about the racist and antisemitic comments heard in the audio clip, some say the audio might have been AI-generated.

In the recording, a voice that was believed to be that of principal Eric Eiswert can be heard ranting about teacher "inadequacies" and low test scores from Black students. 

The recording also contains complaints about Jewish families in the community.

In a letter to parents, the school system said they are investigating, but would not comment on Eiswert's current status, citing private personnel matters. 

Superintendent Myriam Rogers released a statement calling the recording "deeply disturbing."

"I understand how upsetting this recording is for many members of the Team BCPS community," said Rogers. "We will not tolerate disparaging remarks about any member of the Team BCPS community."

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski also issued a statement in response, saying, "Hate, discrimination, and prejudice have no place in our community — especially in our schools. The statements being circulated are abhorrent and my administration is providing our full support ... as they conduct a thorough investigation. Following the conclusion of this investigation, I know swift action will be taken to hold those involved accountable."

Rogers said the school system has not yet confirmed the veracity of the recording, but is working to do so.

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Rogers added, "We are taking this matter seriously and have launched an investigation ... Once we have determined the facts, we will swiftly address this incident."

Scripps News Baltimore had not independently verified the recording's authenticity by Thursday. 

The Council of Administrative and Supervisory Employees, who represent Eiswert, defended him, saying, "The audio is not the language, thoughts or character of Principal Eiswert."

While welcoming an investigation, CASE asked for "a pause in any rush to judgment."

CASE Executive Director Billy Burke said in his statement that Eiswert "is an outstanding school leader who has daily demonstrated his commitment to the students, community and faculty of Pikesville High School. We support the Baltimore County Public Schools' investigation and will provide our full cooperation."

Burke said he hopes everyone acts "respectfully to his [Eiswert's] family, staff, and to each other. Let this be a reminder that hate has no place."

This story was originally published by Rushaad Hayward and Ryan Dickstein at Scripps News Baltimore

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