Investigation showed violations of EGPS policy but “insufficient evidence” of Title IX violation
Following an eight-month Title IX investigation, former Cole Middle School science teacher Adam Scott resigned Nov. 30.
As previously reported, Scott was placed on administrative leave since February while an investigation of alleged “inappropriate behavior” was taking place, according to a letter sent out by Supt. Brian Ricca at the time.
The investigation was headed by outside attorney Timothy Graves who interviewed two students, eleven current and former teachers/paraprofessionals, and five current and former EGPS administrators, according to a document known as the Notice of Final Outcome.
The document states that a teacher initially reported allegations they had heard from students. However, it does not indicate what those allegations pertain to.
Additionally, the “three students who made the initial report to their teacher declined, through their parents, to be interviewed” during the investigation, according to the notice.
The document also states, “… there is insufficient evidence to determine that Mr. Scott’s conduct in the 2022-23 school year violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the applicable EGPS policy.”
According to the U.S. Department of Education, “Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance.”
However, the next finding in the Notice of Final Outcome states, “based on a preponderance of the evidence standard of review, Mr. Scott’s conduct violated EGPS Policy 8300, Professional Conduct with Students.”
EGPD Policy 8300 states in part: “The relationship between District employees/Partners and Students must be of a professional nature at all times. This policy covers conduct that takes place both on and off District property, and both during and outside of the school day. The policy also pertains to all forms of communication that may occur between employees and students, at any time.”
The five examples of prohibited behavior outlined in the policy are dating students, engaging in a romantic relationship with students, making romantically or sexually suggestive comments to or about a student, fostering, encouraging, or participating in an emotionally or socially inappropriate intimate relationship with a student, and direct communication with students for any reasons through methods like texts messages, social media, and phone calls.
Ricca confirmed that a representative from the district reported the incident to the R.I. Department of Children, Youth, and Families, which is mandated by state law if someone knows of or suspects a child is being abused or neglected. When asked if any law enforcement agency had investigated or is investigating the incident, Ricca said, “Not to my knowledge.”
Scott was paid while on administrative leave. Ricca said Scott would “not receive any [additional] monetary compensation from the district.” Regarding Scott’s pension, Ricca said, “As with all teachers, he is contributing to a pension through the state retirement system.”
Scott did not respond to a request for comment.
Prior to his resignation, Scott had been a teacher in EGPS since 1999 and was involved in Unified Sports both at Cole and at EGHS.