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Lilly Price

Baltimore Sun

January 30, 2024

An investigation of a recording of racist and antisemitic remarks allegedly made by the principal of Pikesville High School that surfaced earlier this month is ongoing, the county superintendent said at a news conference Tuesday.

Myriam Rogers, the superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools, said two Pikesville administrators are leading the school’s operations during the investigation of Principal Eric Eiswert. She declined to comment on his employment status, but a county school spokesperson said Eiswert was “not in the building.”

BCPS asked Baltimore County Police to help analyze the audio. Rogers said there is no timeline for when the investigation is expected to be complete.

The recording was posted on several social media accounts Jan. 17 and sparked immediate outrage. The conversation in the audio includes “highly offensive and inappropriate statements about African American students, Pikesville High School staff, and Pikesville’s Jewish community,” Rogers previously said in a statement when announcing the investigation. In the audio, what sounds like a man complains about Black students, teachers and Jewish parents.

When asked about reports that the recording was made with artificial intelligence, Rogers declined to comment.

“I can’t make any additional statements, but as soon as we have definitive information one way or another, that information will be shared with the community,” she said.

Rogers visited Pikesville High last week and talked to students and staff. The school received additional counseling support, “healing circles” for students and staff, and “targeted staff support” through an employee assistant program and the Department of Equity and Cultural Proficiency, Rogers said.

“As you can imagine, this has been a very difficult time for the Pikesville High School community,” Rogers said. “The statements on the recording do not reflect the core values of the school system.”

Speaking to the district’s school communities, Rogers said BCPS will use “all available tools and resources” to keep students safe and hold rule-breakers accountable.

A week after the audio recording was posted online, community members denounced the comments at the Baltimore County Board of Education meeting.

Billy Burke, executive director of the Council of Administrative and Supervisory Employees, a union that represents BCPS principals, including Eiswert, and other administrators, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Burke spoke at the county board meeting Jan. 23 and said that Eiswert and his family have received harassing and threatening calls and emails since the release of the audio. Burke said he’s also been harassed by email and didn’t feel safe coming to the board meeting in person.

Rogers and her staff helped coordinate a police presence at Eiswert’s house to ward off potential harassment, Burke said.

“Our legal system is founded on the tenet that you are innocent until proven guilty,” Burke told the board. “Press coverage and social media have made it possible for people to make statements and tell stories with no evidence and no accountability.”

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