Portsmouth football coach ousted following investigation into student’s suicide
By: Rebecca Turco
PORTSMOUTH, R.I. – The Portsmouth School Committee decided to part ways with the high school’s head football coach, following an investigation into a student’s suicide.
The committee voted Tuesday night not to reappoint Moniz as coach for the upcoming school year, after hearing from an independent investigator hired by the school department on Nathan Bruno’s suicide.
Bruno tried apologizing to Moniz in February for sending multiple prank calls and text messages, according to the report, but the coach would not accept it unless Bruno disclosed his friends who were involved. "We thought that was concerning, that you would put that pressure on a kid and not accept a 15-year-old’s apology when he was trying to take responsibility for his own actions,” said School Committee Chair Terri Cortvriend.
Moniz met with his team later that day and threatened to quit if they didn’t get involved, according to the investigator’s report. "He said, ‘this is your problem now,’ Cortvriend explained. “He kind of put his grown-up problem on the laps of his team and left them to deal with it, told them to fix it."
The following day, Bruno committed suicide. Bruno was on the football team during his freshman year, but not during his sophomore year when the events transpired.
Moniz’s lawyer, Jeff Sowa, called the investigator’s report, “incredibly disappointing.” He said his client was repeatedly harassed and frightened by the anonymous messages. Sowa added every action Moniz took was with the knowledge and support of the administration, including his meeting with the football team.
The school committee determined Moniz didn’t violate any teaching codes, so he remains a physical education teacher at the high school.
Sowa says Moniz is considering all legal options.
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