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UPDATE: ‘Shy or not shy’: The truth about the NKSD

Lissette Quiñones

Arts & Entertainment Editor

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Ever squashed a spider in a book? If not, just picture it: the many legged creature falls onto the page you’re reading. Your instincts kick in and BAM! You shut your book with a snap of your fingers and you know it's dead. But just to make sure, you have to open up the book and take a look for yourself, right?

Well take that analogy and imply it to the situation going on with the North Kingstown School Department, more specifically, the situation of the “fat tests.” You want this all to be over, but more information heads your way and before you close this case for good, you take a peek and see what you’ve got. Well, I can assure you that based on the last couple of weeks this case is just getting started.

To get caught up on the whole ordeal, feel free to refer back to the opinion piece that briefly summarizes the living nightmare right here.

Picking back up where it left off, recent reports have shown that turning a blind eye doesn’t work well after all. This past Monday, it was revealed that these so-called “tests” became more personal than anyone would’ve wanted. One particular allegation claims that it became sexual, as the student recalls the teacher being “visibly aroused,” along with the student himself, yet the report indicates that the student did not understand why it happened, just that he was understandably uncomfortable with the situation.

Of course, Aaron Thomas, the man being investigated, claims that while he did conduct these “tests,” he denies that the students were ever naked. Multiple confessions from former students combat Thomas' stories, as they go into detail about being forced to remove clothes and Thomas proceeding to touch their groin area.

Attorney Matthew Oliverio is leading the investigation and noted that despite the multiple confessions being made under now former Superintendent Phil Auger, no further precautions or actions were taken, and the claims were never followed up on. “Instead, he accepted Mr. Thomas’ word that no student was ever naked or inappropriately touched, because he trusted Mr. Thomas to tell the truth given his long storied and unblemished career and reputation within the school community,” said Oliverio.

Oliverio also met with teachers that have worked with Thomas in the past as well as close friends. He asked if they ever had any clue of the situation at hand, and many said the same - that if they ever had any suspicions that they wouldn’t have hesitated to put an end to it.

All but a teacher named Howie Hague, who claims that he did recall a student standing in Mr. Thomas’ office without a shirt on, but took no further actions to see why.

Assistant Superintendent Denise Mancieri said that the only thing that concerned her was the fact that the “tests” were happening in his office instead of the gym, which needless to say is completely missing the point of what was truly wrong about these so called “tests.”

Since then, Auger has resigned along with Denise Mancieri, because they decided that it would be best to have people who have “no ties'' to Aaron Thomas leading the school district. This is very sus.

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha initiated the start of a criminal investigation on Thomas. Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Zachary Cunha also began a federal civil rights investigation on the North Kingstown School District to prevent something like this from ever happening again.

If you have any further interest in following the story, continue to read the report on WPRI here.


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