Grand Prairie teacher on leave after school shooting comment

Dionne Anglin reports.

- Disturbing comments a Grand Prairie teacher is accused of making a few years ago in another state have led to him being removed from the campus.

The teacher was arrested, and the charges later dropped. But North Texas parents say their concerns remain about how he got hired here.

The first-year teacher, Christopher Durham, referred all questions to his employer, Grand Prairie ISD. He indicates he still works for the district but is on leave.

The district confirmed on Monday it "removed" Durham from the classroom at Grand Prairie Collegiate Academy after an Oklahoma court case against him surfaced.

A statement to parents explained "Mr. Christopher Durham allegedly made comments during a 2013 court case that would be unacceptable in any part of society. Mr. Durham allegedly said he is "capable of doing things along the line of what just happened in Newtown, Connecticut."  

The reference involved the mass shooting of children and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary.

A parent said students found out about the criminal threat when Durham told them to look him up on the internet.

"He's removed from the campus and will not return to the campus,” said GPISD Spokesman Sam Buchmeyer. “That's probably the most important thing for them to know."

Durham was hired by Grand Prairie ISD on August 8, two and a half months after a fugitive warrant was issued in Tarrant County dealing with the same Oklahoma case.

The case has brought up questions about how a background check failed to catch it. The district maintains its check on Durham was stringent as with every applicant.

In the middle of it all, parents at Grand Prairie Collegiate Institute want the reassurance of safety.

"I was glad the school did something about it and got him out of here,” said parent Jennifer Gilbert. “But that said, I wonder have they increased security? Nothing like a disgruntled employee coming back."

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