EAST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) — Two East Greenwich High School varsity volleyball coaches have been fired from their positions following an investigation into whether one of them sexually harassed multiple players.
In a letter sent to the community Thursday, Superintendent Alexis Meyer said the team’s head coach and assistant coach were terminated and banned from working for the district in the future as a result of the two-month investigation.
Meyer said “serious concerns about the assistant coach’s interactions with players” were brought to her attention last November after the season had ended.
The district immediately hired an outside investigator to look into the allegations, according to Meyer. The investigation included interviews with current and former athletes, parents, coaches, administrators and other school personnel.
“The investigation concluded that the assistant coach had behaved in violation of the district’s Title IX policy with respect to sexual harassment,” Meyer wrote.
Meyer said no criminal charges have been filed against either coach, though players’ complaints were reported to the East Greenwich Police Department.
12 News has reached out to the East Greenwich Police Department regarding the allegations but has yet to hear back.
The results of the investigation have been sent to the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), as well as the state’s Department of Education, Rhode Island Interscholastic League and USA Volleyball.
DCYF said it is “aware of the allegations and, pursuant to state law, conducted an investigation,” and has been in close contact with school officials regarding the investigation process.
In a statement to 12 News, Meyer said the district takes these allegations very seriously.
“When these concerns were brought to our attention, we immediately took the proper steps to ensure the safety of all students and to conduct a thorough investigation into the facts in the case,” Meyer said. “We are deeply grateful to the students and families who came forward for their courage and their full cooperation in this difficult process.”
In response to the allegations, Meyer said the district is putting several safeguards in place to protect students.
“First, we will institute mandatory annual training to inform all athletes, coaches and assistant coaches about policies, procedures and expectations on and off the playing fields, including guidelines for appropriate communication and interaction between coaches and students,” Meyer explained. “In addition, all student-athletes will receive similar training at the start of each season. The training will outline procedures for any athlete to report inappropriate behavior without fear of retaliation.”
Meyer said the district is also reviewing the policies and practices “related to outside interactions between employees and students.”
“We recognize that high school athletics are an important part of the educational experience for so many of our students and families, and we hope to move forward as a community to ensure the success and safety of all of our student-athletes,” she added.