Lexington Athletic Director Naomi Martin has been suspended without pay for one week after admitting she doctored portions of an email from a parent, which she included in her own communication with Middlesex League athletic directors, including Reading's.
In the group email, sent on Nov. 15, Martin requests permission from her colleagues to allow Lexington to play a single-gender basketball schedule in order to bring the program into compliance with Title IX. She also states in the email that a Lexington parent had informed school officials threatened a lawsuit and was “prepared to file her complaint against the entire Middlesex League with the OCR.”
The Middlesex League subsequently changed its schedule, discontinuing the double-header format it had implemented in the mid-1990s and instead having boys and girls varsity teams playing in opposite locations. That decision was made Nov. 20 and upheld Dec. 4, after student athletes appealed to the ADs with another option.
The parent Martin purported to quote from in her email was Lexington resident Kathryn Robb. And, as it turns out, she never threatened to bring a suit against Lexington, let alone the whole league.
In interviews over the past two months, Robb has denied ever threatening a lawsuit and Martin declined comment.
On Jan. 19, Lexington Superintendent Paul Ash, in an email sent to the same athletic directors who received Martin’s Nov. 15 email, sought to “correct the record” by explaining Martin had misrepresented Robb and calling her actions “unacceptable.”
He wrote, in part:
In the email Naomi included statements that were intended to convince you of the urgency of making changes to the women’s basketball schedule - changes which would bring the League into compliance with Title IX. While I believe the email was well intentioned insofar as it was written to advance the League’s compliance with Title IX, Ms. Martin’s decision to strengthen her advocacy by falsely stating that the League had been threatened by a parent with both a lawsuit and negative publicity for non-compliance is unacceptable and must be corrected.
The same day, Martin emailed an apology to Robb. And today, Jan. 23, a spokesperson for the Lexington Public Schools confirmed Martin will be placed on unpaid leave for a week, beginning Jan. 24.