Parents protest outside North Kingstown School Committee meeting
The school committee held a Saturday meeting to discuss the investigation of former North Kingstown High School basketball coach Aaron Thomas.
North Kingstown, RI (WLNE) – A couple dozen parents protested outside a North Kingstown School Committee meeting on Saturday morning. The school committee met to discuss the investigation of former North Kingstown High School basketball coach Aaron Thomas.
Protesters held signs with phrases like, “You all failed our boys”, “Justice for our boys”, “Our children deserve better” and “What if this was your child?”. They called on the superintendent to resign.
Thomas is under investigation by the Rhode Island State Attorney General’s Office regarding the manner in which he conducted “fat checks” on student athletes at the school.
Thomas resigned from North Kingstown High at the end of the last school year. This school year, he had begun teaching middle school at Monsignor Clarke in Wakefield. Upon learning of the allegations involving the coach’s time at North Kingstown High, Monsignor Clarke put Thomas on administrative leave and ultimately fired him on Friday.
After Saturday’s meeting, the North Kingstown School Committee released a lengthy statement detailing the timeline of events. The statement said the committee is “unaware of any information that indicates any member of the administration acted inappropriately with regards to the investigation.” You can read that statement here: North Kingstown School Department statement
The statement details two allegations:
- A former student who came forward in 2018 who said Thomas conducted “fat checks” in his office. The former student said he was clothed and was not touched in appropriately. However, the former student said the checks were uncomfortable and unusual. The school committee said Thomas was then told to only conduct “fat checks” in the locker room with at least two adults present.
- A former student who came forward in February 2021 said Thomas conducted “fat checks” on him while the former student was naked in Thomas’s office. The former student alleged that he was touched inappropriately in at least one “fat check”.
After the second allegation, the school department placed Thomas on administrative leave and voted not to renew his contract at the end of the last school year. The statement noted that was the earliest time they could terminate, according to Rhode Island state law. The school department said Thomas instead resigned in June, before the termination happened. The statement said the school department had also called in the North Kingstown Police Department to investigate.
Thomas went on to begin teaching for Monsignor Clarke in Wakefield this year. Monsignor Clarke’s principal, Dr. Arthur Lisi, said Thomas passed all background checks and reference checks. Dr. Lisi said he also called the North Kingstown High principal personally to get a recommendation and was given no negative information about Thomas. Upon learning about the investigation, Dr. Lisi said Monsignor Clarke immediately put Thomas on administrative leave and ultimately fired him on Friday.
To read Dr. Lisi’s full statement, click here: