Rome City School District attorneys to probe conduct complaints

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The Rome City School District’s attorneys, and not the Board of Education, will conduct an investigation into a pair of formal complaints that the board’s Vice President Tanya Davis engaged in conduct at a January 25 varsity boys basketball game that violated district standards of conduct, according to a statement by the district.

Davis, who is also the parent of a member of the team, denied allegations that she yelled at a player on the team as well as a coach, and stated that the board had fully investigated the incident and deemed the allegations to be unfounded.

Board President John Nash had confirmed that no formal investigation had been performed previously; however, in response to the two formal complaints submitted to district Superintendent Peter C. Blake and the board, Nash issued a statement refuting that the board has made any official determination to date in the matter.

“The board has had several meetings with regard to the recent incident alleging inappropriate interaction between board member Tanya Davis and a student athlete at a basketball game,” Nash said in a statement on behalf of the board.

“During one of those meetings, the board authorized and fully endorsed an impartial investigation by the district’s attorneys. The board has charged this firm to investigate all aspects of the incident and will be interviewing all possible witnesses,” Nash said.

“We are aware that it has been reported that the board completed the investigation and determined that the allegations were unfounded. Any assertion that the investigation is complete or that we reached a final conclusion regarding this incident is inaccurate,” the statement continued.  

“The Board is committed to facilitating the highest level of objectivity and professionalism from its members and in its public interactions,” it added.

At the board’s annual reorganizational meeting in July 2021, the board approved the hiring of the law firm of Ferrara Fiorenza P.C., of East Syracuse, to be the district’s legal counsel of record for the 2021-22 school year. The board also passed a resolution allowing for the district to hire local attorneys, on a needs basis, if necessary.

Prior to its meeting of Thursday, Feb. 10, the board met in executive session, officials said, to discuss the incident. District officials did not comment during the full public board meeting that followed the executive session on the investigation nor does it appear that a vote taken in public on utilizing the law firm to conduct an investigation.

Further to allegations that Davis yelled at a student athlete during the game – including calling him a derogatory name – which Nash notes in his statement and which she explicitly denies having done, she has also been accused of yelling at the RFA coaches in disagreement with their handling of behavior of a team member in real time, which – if found to be true — is a violation of the district’s standards of parent conduct.

Though he stopped short at confirming that yelling disagreement at the coaches had specifically been alleged in either a report by the district’s athletic director or in the formal complaints, Nash has confirmed that any and all alleged misconduct will be investigated.

The full board is scheduled to meet again on Monday, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m.

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