NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — A Davisville Middle School teacher accused of stalking a pre-teen girl he was coaching and harassing other students in his classes is resigning at the end of the school year, according to the lawyer representing the girl’s family.
Lawyer Timothy J. Conlon said Friday morning that he and the family learned about the resignation through other sources the previous day — and not from the School Committee or the administration.
“What happened to all the pledges of transparency?” Conlon said.
The teacher has been on leave since Spring 2022 as an investigation into the allegations was conducted. Early Friday afternoon, the North Kingstown School Department released a statement saying that the investigation had concluded, and that “the teacher will not return to the classroom or resume coaching duties for the remainder of the year while on contractual leave.”
“The independent investigation into allegations raised by a former student relating to a Davisville Middle School teacher conducted by Attorney Matthew Oliverio has concluded. In addition, an investigation into allegations against the School Department raised by the family of the former student relative to its actions has also concluded,” the statement read. “This investigation also addressed additional related allegations from other students. The independent investigator found that none of the allegations raised against the teacher or the School Department rose to the level of Title IX violations. Based on the recommendations contained in the report, and also supported by District legal counsel, the former Interim Superintendent met with the DMS teacher and his/her legal representative and the teacher resigned effective at the end of the 2022-2023 school year.”
A teacher at North Kingstown High School who had been accused of inappropriate behavior with female students is returning to the high school on Tuesday, the school department said. The teacher, who has not been publicly identified, has also been on paid leave since Spring 2022, after Conlon brought forward allegations from former students that the teacher made them uncomfortable with remarks and behavior.
The school department said in a statement that attorney Timothy Groves concluded that investigation and found that none of the allegations rose to the level of Title IX violations. Based on the recommendations, the teacher will transition back to school and, at the teacher’s suggestion, will not coach or be involved in extracurricular activities.
“This decision was reached after reviewing the investigation report and providing the opportunity for the NKHS teacher to address the report findings. The former Interim Superintendent concluded that the NKHS teacher is not, and at no time prior, was a threat to the students at North Kingstown High School,” the statement said.
The school department said it complied with state Department of Education mandatory reporting requirements. The high school principal will develop a personal improvement plan for the teacher and supervise and ensure the teacher completes the plan within 18 months.
The school department did not release the completed investigation reports. Neither teacher has been publicly identified.
Committee Chairwoman Erin Earle and interim assistant superintendent Katherine Sipala did not respond to requests for comment from the Globe about the teacher Friday morning. Interim Superintendent Judy Paolucci resigned on Monday during a fiery committee meeting.
The Davisville Middle School teacher did not respond to a text message from the Globe.
The teacher had worked at the middle school for nearly 30 years. Starting in 2017, the middle-school girl’s family had tried to get school officials to do something about the teacher, who they said had fixated on their daughter and began stalking her. Frustrated by a lack of response, the family filed a formal complaint in 2018 with then-Superintendent Phil Auger, Conlon said.
It wasn’t until the family threatened to get a restraining order that the teacher was made to stop coaching middle-schoolers in North Kingstown. However, the teacher then went to coach in two other school districts and remained as a teacher at Davisville Middle School.
Then in April 2022, Conlon, who is representing current and former students in a case against former high school basketball coach Aaron Thomas brought the family’s allegations to then-interim Superintendent Michael Waterman and the US Attorney’s Office, which is investigating a complaint under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act. Waterman placed the teacher on leave and launched an internal investigation.
Conlon said the school administration said it lost the family’s original complaint. In the meantime, other former students came forward about the Davisville teacher’s behavior. A group of boys had kept a Discord log to track the teacher’s “creepy” behavior toward the girls. A young woman who read about the boys’ “Pedo Database” came forward about her own experiences in the teacher’s classroom, calling him “the worst teacher I ever had.”
Conlon said there are several outstanding questions: Why wasn’t the family informed about the action taken with the teacher? What has the school department done to create a formal record so subsequent potential employers know about the facts and circumstances of the investigation?
Conlon drew comparisons with how administrators handled the allegations against Thomas, who resigned quietly in 2021 after accusations he’d conducted “naked fat tests” of teen boys for decades.
Thomas then was hired by Monsignor Clarke School in South Kingstown; he lost his job when the allegations from North Kingstown were made public.
Thomas is now charged with two felonies, and the school district is under investigation by the US Attorney’s office.
“Does NKSD intend to do anything differently?” Conlon said in a statement. “And what happened to all the pledges about transparency?”
This article has been updated with a statement from the North Kingstown School Department.