A page on the website of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association proclaims that "Bullying stops here."
It depicts that message with a red stop sign — alongside a promo these days for a March 22 association workshop titled "Becoming an Ally: Interrupting Name-Calling, Bullying, Cyberbullying and Harassment."
Baloney. The truth is, the MIAA has shown nothing but disdain for the state's and its own bullying mandates — and leaders at St. Mary's High in Lynn are no better.
Both of those institutions have fallen down on the job through their handling of a band of St. Mary's students who sent roughly a dozen vulgar, obscene, intimidating — and, yes, bullying — text messages to the cellphone of a Manchester Essex boys basketball player prior to the Hornets' sectional semifinal game against St. Mary's earlier this month.
According to Manchester police, the messages, featuring what authorities called vulgar slurs, were traced to cellphones belonging to students at St. Mary's. While none of the messages were sent from phones owned by members of the St. Mary's team, police were told by one of the students who sent a message that he was asked to do so by a team member.
Manchester police Officer Christopher Locke, the investigating officer, has said that, if the students send any more such messages, Manchester will pursue criminal charges against them.
You'd like to think St. Mary's officials and the MIAA would step in, given that the idea was allegedly hatched by at least one St. Mary's player.
The MIAA sent an official to Beverly High School, where the Tuesday game was played, but obviously plans not to take any action.
"It doesn't sound like something that should involve the MIAA," MIAA spokesman Paul Wetzel said last week, adding that the issue should be left to the police and the schools.
Wrong again. As to the MIAA "Bullying, Cyberbullying and Harassment" workshop?
The MIAA should not only host its "Bullying, Cyberbullying and Harassment" workshop, but make sure its own executives and staff are the first to sign up. They and their friends at St. Mary's just might learn about the need for standing up to bullies — and taking a real stand.