This past October, Emily Nash of Lunenburg High School, was denied first place at the Central Mass Division 3 Golf Tournament because of her gender and Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) rules.
According to MIAA rules, Nash was allowed to compete as part of a team, however since she was competing in a fall boys’ tournament she was not allowed to compete as an individual, therefore making her ineligible to accept first place.
On Thursday, Jan. 18, the MIAA held an inclusion summit that promoted social inclusion and attitudes of non- discrimination towards cultures, gender, race, physical disabilities, and sexual orientation.
Mayor DeMaria has recently expressed concerns on the current rules and standards in high school athletics.
Mayor DeMaria stated, “When incidents of inequality such as this come to light, it is important that our community takes a stand and asserts our shared values of fair and equal treatment. I recognize the problematic actions that inhibited a champion golfer from receiving the award she deserved. As a father of two daughters and Mayor, I am wholeheartedly committed to ensuring equitable opportunities for everyone – regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or physical abilities.”
The Mayor further explained the importance of educating our youth on the inequalities within our society. He emphasized that it is necessary for all, especially as leaders and educators, to develop awareness and knowledge regarding this topic to better serve the entire student population.
“We as leaders and educators have attained responsibilities within our society to promote and enhance diversity, as well as handle any issue regarding this topic fairly,” states Mayor DeMaria, “I applaud the MIAA for having the Inclusion Summit last week and I look forward to changes to the MIAA rules, so all individuals can receive the recognition they earned no matter what their gender.”