As a longtime resident of Topsfield, I made my annual pilgrimage to the Topsfield Fair during opening weekend. The usual attractions were present: the giant-pumpkin contest, the Dock Dogs, and, my favorite, the fried dough stands. What struck me, however, was something I hadn’t seen before that was very prominent. Throughout the fairgrounds, there were signs that said, “See Something. Say Something.” As the mother of a teenager, I was thrilled to see this message posted. I hoped that people would be moved to take action if they saw something suspicious or disturbing.
That is why I applaud Ana Goble for having the strength and courage to speak up when she had concerns about a teacher’s behavior (“On deaf ears,” Metro, Oct. 10). As Amanda Grady Sexton, of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, stated, “What she did is something that many adults struggle with every day.” Appallingly, the “adults” involved in this situation got it all wrong. The principal astonishingly suspended Ana, then a seventh-grader, for three days for “spreading malicious and slanderous gossip.” By doing this, he aligned himself with the teacher, who now, five years after Ana raised her concerns, has been charged with aggravated rape and other charges.
I would like to believe that the outcome would be different if this situation happened today, in the wake of the #MeToo movement. I hope that young people will emulate Ana, and when they see something, they say something. And I hope their words are heeded.