North Kingstown school head Auger resigns amidst ‘body fat’ test scandal

NORTH KINGSTOWN – School Superintendent Philip Auger announced Wednesday that he has resigned from his position effective immediately while the investigation into a former high school basketball coach who allegedly conducted naked body fat tests on students continues.

Auger, in his resignation letter, said the school community is working through its investigation involving Aaron Thomas, and said he respects “the importance to move forward” with a new district leader “who is in no way connected to these matters.”

Former student-athletes in late February filed a complaint through their attorney with the R.I. Department of Education asking state officials to intervene on the investigation into Thomas. Tim Conlon, attorney for Burns & Levinson LLP, argued that the North Kingstown School Department and its administrators should be “held accountable” for an “utter lack of control” over Thomas.

Additionally, U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island Zachary Cunha’s office opened an investigation into the school department last month after student-athletes filed a complaint that the high school violated students’ civil rights by allowing Thomas to disrobe athletes for “fat tests” for two decades.

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Auger said that he remains “steadfast” in the knowledge that he “acted appropriately and immediately” in the best interests of students, both current and former, with the information he had at the time.

“I want our students to have a school experience where they know they are safe and they know they can trust in the adults who oversee their education,” Auger said in the letter, “and I am dedicated to doing whatever needs to be done, including now to offer my own resignation, to make sure NKSD has the trust of our community and to support our students, past and present, to learn from this, to process and to heal.”

Auger, who was named the Rhode Island Superintendent of the Year by the Rhode Island School Superintendents’ Association for 2019, said he remains open to “many possibilities” for his future.

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette. This story also includes reports from the Associated Press.