BERLIN, Md. - The issue of bullying is laid out in black and white, literally.
A newly formed group called Parents Against Bullying of Worcester County has taken out a full-page ad in the Maryland Coast Dispatch. The advertisement claims officials at Stephen Decatur High School have swept incidents of bullying, including alleged verbal abuse of student-athletes by coaches, under the rug.
Parent Tony Dibuo, who started the group, says since its publication, he has received dozens of interested parents, but also many attacks.
Supporters of the school have taken to social media - creating a Facebook page in support of two coaches named in the ad.
Stephen Decatur High Principal Louis Taylor sent out this statement Monday:
"At Decatur, we take pride in encouraging and supporting our young people, and we are proud of our longstanding record. We have not and will not tolerate bullying. If someone reports an alleged case of bullying, I can tell you that it will be thoroughly investigated and dealt with. We want our young people to thrive and prosper, and they do. I want to assure our parents and community, that here at Decatur – and at all of our schools – we promote a positive learning environment and will not tolerate bullying."
A publisher with the Dispatch says the paper will print subsequent letters to the editor regarding the anti-bullying blurb.