Different Standard? Rome School Board VP Violated Conduct Code, Investigation Finds
The vice president of the Rome City School Board violated the district's code of conduct at a varsity high school basketball game earlier this year, according an investigation by the school board's law firm.
The incident occurred during an RFA boy's basketball game versus Baldwinsville on January 25, 2022 and alleged that Rome School Board Vice President Tanya Davis shouted at coaches and players on the RFA team.
An investigation by Ferrara Fiorenza PC into Davis' behavior was inconclusive as it relates to the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) however, it did state that Davis violated district's code of conduct and athletic handbook, according to a statement released by the Rome's Board of Education.
Davis' son plays on the team and was in attendance at the game as a parent.
According to the board's statement (find entire statement below), "The investigator determined the DASA claim to be unfounded as it did not meet the elements required to make a finding of a violation with respect to that statute," but that "The investigator did find that there was a violation of the District’s Code of Conduct and Athletic Handbook by several of the spectators that evening, including Ms. Davis."
The report also "recommended that Ms. Davis receive additional training regarding the role of Board members in the community, even when not acting in an official capacity as a Board member," the board's statement read.
John Nash, president of the Rome School Board, spoke to WIBX 950 in defense of Davis. While saying the incident was 'unfortunate', Nash said he believed Davis' tendency to be outspoken places her under an additional spotlight.
"What she did was a violation by the letter of the law," Nash said, "but her behavior was not outrageous and beyond what you or I might say a youth sports game."
Nash told WIBX 950 that the parent of another player on the team came forward after the investigation claiming responsibility for the comment toward the RFA athlete that was deemed 'derogatory.'
While the comment Davis was alleged to have made toward the player was deemed unfounded, the comment she made to the RFA coach was the violation. That violation is not an offense that could lead to Davis' removal from the board, Nash said, but that Superintendent Peter Blake would determine what repercussion, if any, she would face. Being banned from attending a future sporting event, or several, is a possible outcome, Nash said.
Full statement from Rome City School Board regarding investigation:
The Board of Education requested that the law firm of Ferrara Fiorenza PC conduct an investigation into the DASA (Dignity for All Students) Act claim related to an incident that occurred at an RFA boys’ varsity basketball game on January 25, 2022 based on letters received from the guardian of a player on the team, and the NAACP. Although no formal DASA claim was filed, the Board regarded the incident serious enough to initiate an independent investigation into the matter. An attorney from Ferrara Fiorenza PC, was assigned to review the incident.
The results of the investigation were received by the Board on Thursday and Friday, March 24 & 25, 2022. The findings, after interviews with individuals who were in attendance that night, as well as District administrators and coaches, is as follows:
1. The evidence gathered with respect to the allegation that Board member, Tanya Davis, called a player on the RFA boys’ varsity basketball team a derogatory name was inconclusive.
2. The investigator determined the DASA claim to be unfounded as it did not meet the elements required to make a finding of a violation with respect to that statute.
3. The investigator did find that there was a violation of the District’s Code of Conduct and Athletic Handbook by several of the spectators that evening, including Ms. Davis.
4. The investigator recommended that Ms. Davis receive additional training regarding the role of Board members in the community, even when not acting in an official capacity as a Board member.
While the Board has heard requests from community members for Ms. Davis’ removal from the Board and/or her position as Vice President, the Board lacks legal authority to remove Ms. Davis for the conduct established. The Board will meet to discuss a course of action in light of the report we recently received concerning the matter.
WIBX has reached out to Davis for comment.
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