Providence Student Union calls for removal of Assistant Principal after incident at Central High School

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Update: Assistant Principal Tom Bacon has resigned.

“As of this morning, Mr. Bacon has resigned from his position with the Providence Public School Department effective immediately. While the Providence Police will continue their investigation, we will continue to meet with students, teachers and community members and take proactive steps to support our entire school community,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza and school Superintendent Chris Maher said in a joint statement.

The Providence Student Union (PSU) has issued a statement demanding regarding a video that shows Assistant Principal Tom Bacon in an altercation with a student at Central High School in Providence. In the statement PSU calls “for the removal of Assistant Principal Tom Bacon from the Providence Public Schools” adding that, “violence against students has no place in any school.”

Channel 10 has an excellent report on the incident here:

‘He didn’t have a valid reason to tackle me,’ student says of assistant principal

You can read earlier reporting on the incident here:

To the People of Providence:

Recently, a video has circulated among Providence students. The video shows Assistant Principal Tom Bacon at Central High School pinning a student down on the ground and yelling at them.
No matter the reasons for the incident, Providence Student Union (PSU) finds the behavior displayed by the assistant principal to be unacceptable. It surely had a negative impact on the student’s physical, mental, and emotional health, and it contributed to a culture of fear at the school. At the very least, the actions by Central High School administration failed to “promote a safe, supportive and positive school climate that helps students develop the skills they need to be successful in school,” as stated in the PPSD Student Code of Conduct Policy.
PSU, with input from students across the city, has developed a Student Bill of Rights (SBOR), which details the school conditions that all Providence students deserve. These rights include:
Article 11 Students have the right to feel safe on school campus
Article 21 Students have the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment
The incident shown in the video clearly violates students’ rights according to the SBOR. Therefore, PSU invokes another right, Article 8: “Students have the right to hold school staff accountable”: PSU demands that the Providence Public Schools be held accountable for this incident. Of course, we call for the removal of Assistant Principal Tom Bacon from the Providence Public Schools; violence against students has no place in any school.
However, this issue also requires a larger response to the systems of ongoing in-school violence underlying this issue. Providence Student Union’s demands include:
  1. We demand Central High School administrators release a public apology which includes:
    1. Recognition of harm done to the student and to the school community
    2. Recognition of the validity of the Providence Student Bill of Rights, and of the fact that every student deserves to feel safe on school campus
    3. Specific steps for how Central High School will prevent similar incidents from happening in the future, while also respecting students’ rights
  2. We demand that PPSD take specific steps to ensure that violence against students never happens in Providence Schools. Steps should include:
    1. Training for faculty, specifically the Undoing Racism trainings offered by the City of Providence
    2. Informing students and staff of students’ rights, including those in the Code of Conduct and in the SBOR
PSU encourages students to continue speaking out when they see injustice in their schools. For example, we commend the student who recorded this video. It is important for young people to defend themselves, and recording and sharing their experiences  is a key part of that. If you are a student who needs help, message PSU on Facebook, send an email to, or text us at (401) 400-1282.
Providence Student Union

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About Steve Ahlquist 1034 Articles
Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade.Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential