ORLEANS — Nauset Regional Middle School principal Keith Kenyon resigned on Wednesday, about a month after he was named as one of many defendants in a lawsuit over a former basketball coach’s “fat test” program. -ball at a high school in Rhode Island where Kenyon also worked.
Brooke Clenchy, superintendent of the Nauset Regional School District, informed college staff and families of Kenyon’s resignation on Friday.
In a Friday afternoon press release, Clenchy said Kenyon quit “for personal reasons.”
“At his request, the school district has entered into amicable negotiations and has reached a separation agreement for Mr. Kenyon to leave employment with the district,” the news release read.
Kenyon released his own statement to parents and guardians on Wednesday, saying he had decided to retire at the end of the school year.
“As of tomorrow, I will be taking time off for the remainder of the school year. I have personal challenges that require my attention at this time.”
“I wish you and your children the best for the future. It was an honor for me to be the Director of NRMS,” Kenyon wrote.
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Keith Kenyon was hired in 2010 by the Nauset Regional School District
Kenyon had worked for the Nauset Regional School District since 2010, when he was hired as Nauset Regional High School’s athletic director, according to his LinkedIn account.
In 2015, he became Deputy Principal of North Eastham Secondary School and was later appointed Acting Principal – and in November 2021 Principal – of Nauset Regional Middle School in Orléans.
Kenyon named defendant in Rhode Island lawsuit
On April 19, Kenyon was named a defendant in a lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Providence, Rhode Island, which alleges past and present North Kingstown School Department officials failed to protect students from the former basketball coach Aaron Thomas and his practice of the “fat test” in private. “naked athletes.
The lawsuit was brought by a former North Kingstown student and his father.
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The former student, now 21, claims that during a ‘mock’ fat-testing incident in November 2015, Thomas had his face just a foot away from his exposed genitals ‘and placed his hands a few centimeters from the boy’s genitals”.
The lawsuit alleges the former student, identified as 42-year-old John Doe, “experienced emotional distress and mental suffering, requiring mental health counselling.”
Indifference of school officials alleged in lawsuit
He says school officials’ indifference to Thomas’ conduct allowed him to continue his inappropriate conduct for two decades. Thomas resigned last year as the school board prepared to fire him, according to the Providence Journal.
North Kingstown school board members, the city’s chief financial officer, former superintendent Philip Auger, and former high school principal and assistant superintendent Denise Mancieri are also named in the Rhode Island lawsuit.
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An inquest by attorney Matthew Oliverio released in March by the North Kingstown School Committee said Thomas was continuing to fat-test alone in his office despite being ordered in September 2018 to stop the practice.
“This account illustrates the complete lack of control over Mr. Thomas’ inappropriate conduct,” Oliverio said.
He said neither Auger nor Mancieri had properly monitored Thomas to ensure naked testing of athletes stopped, nor had they spoken to students or their families.
Oliverio interviewed students, parents, teachers, coaches and administrators and also reviewed electronic data for his investigation.
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Investigation into allegations underway in Rhode Island
The Rhode Island state attorney general’s office is investigating the allegations against Thomas and North Kingstown officials, and the U.S. attorney’s office is conducting a civil rights investigation, according to the Providence Journal.
During the investigation, the students alleged that Thomas met them alone and made them strip naked to measure body fat with calipers on their upper thighs in addition to their genitals.
The aim was apparently to help improve their athletic performance, but the lawsuit alleges the tests “did not serve any legitimate educational or training purpose”.
Oliverio said Kenyon was among those who chose not to cooperate.
Kenyon reportedly started a performance training program in the 1990s
He said Kenyon started a performance testing program in the 1990s that used “statistics such as speed, strength, vertical leap, extension and others to better condition athletes.”
“From all accounts, he was close and familiar with Aaron Thomas, and it is evident that the fat testing program conducted by Mr. Thomas was an extension” of Kenyon’s performance program.
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In March, Kenyon told the Providence Journal that he was cooperating fully “with every investigator and agency that has contacted me regarding this matter.”
“Any claim to the contrary is simply false.”
At the time, Kenyon said he was not commenting further “out of respect for the ongoing investigation.”
Kenyon’s resignation comes as assistant manager announces retirement
Kenyon’s resignation on Wednesday, which became effective immediately, follows the recent announcement by Nauset Regional Secondary School Deputy Principal Neal Milan that he is retiring.
Clenchy said Nauset Public Schools will post a permanent middle school principal position next week.
District officials “anticipate we will be able to fill this role with a highly qualified administrator by early mid-July,” Clenchy wrote.
In the meantime, Mark Wilson, retired principal of Monomoy Regional Middle School, has agreed to serve as acting principal of Nauset Regional Middle School from Tuesday, Clenchy said in his statement. message to staff and parents.
“Acting Principal Wilson looks forward to joining the Nauset team on Tuesday morning, and he also looks forward to meeting all staff, students and families in the remaining weeks of this school year,” Clenchy said.
“We recognize that this temporary transition period may be concerning for staff, students and families, and we appreciate your patience and understanding as we strive to work together to build a strong administrative team at Nauset Regional Middle School for the 2022-2023 season, the school year and beyond,” she said.
Providence Journal/Gannett reporter Tom Mooney contributed to this story.