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GRAND PRAIRIE (CBS 11 NEWS) – Grand Prairie students revealed a teacher’s secret that slipped by the school district’s background checks. The district suspended the teacher, Christopher Durham, and is now reconsidering the way it handles hiring new teachers.
“He said that Mr. Durham said, look me up, I’m famous,” said Alia, a parent at Grand Prairie Collegiate Institute. She claims Durham, her son’s STEM teacher, told the class to “Google” him.
Alia said her 11-year-old did just that, and showed her what he found.
“Looked him up, and lo and behold, there it was,” said Alia.
A Google search of Durham’s name reveals a list of news stories from 2013 and an arrest in Oklahoma.
An affidavit provided by the Oklahoma City District Attorney’s office alleged that during a divorce, Durham’s own attorney turned him in for threatening the judge and other attorneys. The document alleges that Durham claimed to be capable of “doing things along the line of what happened in Newtown,(Connecticut).”
“We do a legally sound reference and background check,” said Sam Buchmeyer with Grand Prairie ISD.
The district said it ran Durham through state and federal FBI resources before hiring him in August, but didn’t learn of his 2013 arrest until Friday.
“We had never prior… did any name based research through an internet search engine,” said Buchmeyer. “But we’re considering that.”
An assistant DA in Oklahoma City told CBS 11 News that the charges against Durham were dropped in 2013 pending the completion of a veteran rehabilitation program.
Durham is a military veteran.
Authorities say that he never completed his rehabilitation and skipped town to Texas.
Police found Durham in July of this year and extradited him to Oklahoma.
Grand Prairie ISD hired him one month later. Durham has a trial date set for November in Oklahoma.
Durham told CBS 11 Thursday night on the phone, the charges are false and his name will be cleared.
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