- Office of the Attorney General
Media Contact for AG Campbell’s Office and Education Leaders Kick Off Regional Trainings on Preventing and Addressing Hate in School Sports
Thomas Dalton, Deputy Press Secretary
BOSTON — As part of her ongoing efforts to prioritize equity and well-being for children in Massachusetts and to combat bullying and harassment, Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell in partnership with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS), the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) and the Massachusetts School Administrators’ Association (MSAA) is kicking off a series of 13 regional statewide trainings to help school administrators and athletic directors prevent and address hate and bias in school sports.
The 13 regional trainings, which begin today at the MIAA office in Franklin and run through May, will be conducted by the Northeastern Center for the Study of Sport in Society and are focused on providing school administrators and athletic directors with the tools they need to address hate and build a healthy and inclusive culture in school sports. The trainings are the next phase of the Addressing Hate in School Sports initiative that was launched with a virtual call-to-action last year in response to a rise in reported bullying, harassment, and hazing incidents across Massachusetts. The trainings follow and build on a day-long conference held at TD Garden in December that provided more than 450 school administrators, athletic directors, staff, coaches and referees from across the state with programming and information on best practices to build positive environments for students and prevent, report and address hate incidents across all school athletics settings.
“No child should go into a locker room or step onto a playing field in fear of intimidation, harassment or bullying,” AG Campbell said. “I’m grateful to our partners in this initiative for their commitment to ensuring that school sports bring students together, provide new opportunities and teach valuable life lessons.”
“Addressing hate in school sports is important but difficult work, so I’m pleased to see these regional trainings offered,” said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley. “We owe it to all of our students to ensure that being on a sports team is a welcoming, positive experience in which they are both challenged and supported.”
“We are very excited to move to the next phase of this initiative,” said Robert Baldwin, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association and the Massachusetts School Administrators’ Association. “The ability for teams of school leaders coming together in regions throughout the Commonwealth receiving training from the best of the best is the next action step toward eradicating hate and bias through the platform of interscholastic athletics.”
“There’s no room for hate speech in our communities,” said Tom Scott, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents. “Our athletic programs are an excellent place to set a culture and expectations among student leaders to respect and support each other.”
“The Addressing Hate in School Sports Initiative and the regional trainings that begin this week represent an empowering, intentional, and intersectional effort of government leaders, school superintendents, principals, athletic directors, coaches, staff, university partners, non-profits and a host of other committed stakeholders, all fully vested in creating a sustainable culture of safety for youth, and their communities, both on the playing field and beyond,” said Dan Lebowitz, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern. “These trainings will allow school athletic leaders to engage in conversations that help ideate, innovate and implement a future that provides a pathway to becoming the best versions of our individual and collective selves. We remain grateful for all the thoughtful leadership and forefront vision that went into creating this important participatory platform of positive and sustainable change, and we are honored to be delivering the trainings as part of it.”
Each training will take place over a two-day period and will be held at various locations across the state – including College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Endicott College in Beverly, Stonehill College in Easton, Babson College in Wellesley, Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School in Bourne, UMass Lowell, UMass Amherst, Bridgewater State University and MIAA headquarters in Franklin. The trainings are being held at no cost to attendees and are open to all school districts across the state.
The trainings will specifically focus on empowering school and athletic leaders with the tools to build safe space communities at their school district through a deeper understanding of how unconscious bias and toxic speech can be identified, responded to, and eradicated. They will incorporate a “train the trainer” model, with the goal of equipping attendees to bring the programming they learn back to their schools and train others on preventing and addressing hate and bias in their school sports programming and beyond.
For more information on the AG’s initiative on addressing hate and bias in sports and to sign your school up for upcoming programs and trainings, please reach out to AddressHate@mass.gov.
These trainings are made possible through the work of AG Campbell’s Children’s Justice Unit and its Director Liza Hirsch and Assistant Attorney General Cassandra Thomson, as well as the AG’s Civil Rights Division’s Administrative Assistant Rose Woods.