Sunday, April 13, 2003

Police: Man using fake name hired as principal



The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Ohio needs broader criminal background checks for job applicants, state education officials said after a convict passed a background check under a fake name and was hired as a charter school principal.

The Ohio Department of Education approved the hiring of David Dibble last fall as principal of Excel Institute. His fingerprint check was clear, said Steve Burigana, the department's executive director of community schools.

Columbus police say Dibble's real name is Dale Diddle. The man was arraigned under that name last week in Franklin County Municipal Court on forged check charges.

Diddle's former wife, Rosemary Blayney of Westlake in suburban Cleveland, said Diddle is known to change names. He had been an assistant principal at Westlake High School and used her last name in 1996 to run up $279,000 in credit card bills, for which he went to federal prison, she said. Diddle lost his teaching license in West Virginia and Pennsylvania because of criminal charges.

It's not clear why the fingerprints didn't produce the record or reveal a fake name, Burigana said.

But even if officials at the school did know the other name, state law limits how frequently and thoroughly schools can check employee backgrounds and makes it optional to check teaching credentials in other states if the person has lived in Ohio at least five years.

Lawmakers created charter schools in 1997 as an alternative to traditional public schools. They are privately run, but publicly funded.

The department has asked lawmakers to allow for better checks.

If the department can confirm that the principal is Diddle, Burigana said it would refer his case to the state Board of Education and recommend pulling his teaching license.

Reached at the school Friday, the principal declined to comment.

A sign on the door Friday said classes would be canceled until further notice.




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