Report of investigations into Aaron Thomas shows ‘normalization’ of alleged fat checks
NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WLNE) — Former Superior Court Judge Susan McGuirl on Monday released a report on the investigations into Aaron Thomas, and allegations of naked “fat checks” at North Kingstown High School for over 20 years.
The 146-page document explained that the tests by the former basketball coach were known by the school community and were considered an “open secret.”
“Someone mentioned that students are scared to go to school, and they are,” said Megan Reilly, a parent in the district. “I mentioned a teacher’s name and he said to me, ‘Oh. my God. Oh, my God, is he the one?'”
The town hired McGuirl in November to review the findings of multiple ongoing investigations and advise how the town should move forward.
Solutions included staff retraining, extensive interview processes, and increased boundaries between students and staff.
Town Council member Kerry McKay explained at a Town Council meeting Monday, “Never again does a single administrator, psychologist, teacher, sits in a room with one individual by themselves ever again.”
McGuirl said that the district failed to report complaints about Thomas, and also did not relay the message to community members.
Timothy Conlon, attorney for some former students affected, said that “the failures, utter failures that occur when school departments prioritize something other than student safety. That’s what she highlighted in pretty drastic terms.”
The Town Council is now looking for a response from the school committee and assures that they will work in conjunction to create town-wide change.