No one has questioned whether Lexington (Mass.) High athletic director Naomi Martin was acting with the right intentions when she started a crusade to adjust the initial boys and girls basketball schedules for Massachusetts’ Middlesex League. What Martin, who was previously the AD at Ashland (Mass.) High before taking the Lexington position, wanted was an equal amount of boys and girls basketball games played in the 7 p.m. time slot. She got that, but she also landed a week-long suspension from her job.
It’s hard to argue with the reasoning behind Martin’s suspension, either, because it was borne from an outright lie. In writing a letter to the other Middlesex athletic directors, Martin claimed that a parent of a Lexington girls basketball player was threatening to file suit against the entire league unless the girls schedule was given an equal amount of 7 p.m. games as the boy’s slate. According to Martin the suit would be easy to file because the mother in question was a civil rights lawyer.
That was a pure fabrication. Yes, a Lexington mother had written to Martin to complain about the schedule. However, as reported by the Boston Globe and the MetroWest Daily News, among other outlets, that’s where the truth and ends and the fabrications begin.
The mother who wrote the letter to Martin, Kathryn Robb, is not a civil rights lawyer; she is an instructor for the bar exam of Massachusetts. Additionally, she never mentioned the Middlesex League in her letter, touching only on Lexington High’s failure to provide a balanced schedule. And Robb never threatened to file a lawsuit or voice her displeasure to the Globe, anyway.
According to the Globe, Martin wrote a letter of apology to Robb while Lexington Superintendent Paul Ash wrote an email to the other Middlesex ADs that said the inaccurate letter, “is unacceptable and must be corrected.”
For her part, Robb said that she was still in favor of a gender balanced basketball schedule, but she was more disturbed by the relatively light penalty handed down to Martin, who Robb feels has ruined the parent’s reputation in the district.
“If a student had taken a teacher’s email and, copied and pasted it, altered it, doctored it in 18 to 20 places and then blasted it out to other people, I think that that student would be swiftly and probably severely disciplined,” said Robb in a phone interview with the Globe today. “I find it difficult to believe there wouldn’t be swift and severe action for a student.”