The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 17, 1999

Presumption of innocence

To the Editor:

We feel that there is an important point yet to be made regarding the sexual harassment issue. But first, we want to make it clear that we think sexual harassment is completely intolerable and any such allegation must be taken very seriously and must receive an appropriate response. Even if this were not our personal conviction, it is required by law.

However, even in the most clear-cut legal cases, there is a presumption of innocence until the legal process has taken its course. When there is an accusation of sexual harassment, that process often requires systematically sorting through multiple layers of interpretation. Though this process is laborious and largely confidential, ultimately it benefits all members of society. We understand that in this case, the student and her family felt that the school did not respond adequately, so they took the appropriate legal steps. We also understand that they have withdrawn their suit, as is their choice.

We want to note that, in this case, the teacher involved has been an extraordinarily positive presence in the life of one of our children, and we know that has been the case for many other students, This teacher's teaching methods and dedication to the work are truly exceptional. Let us stress again that we are not vouching for this person's conduct in regard to the specific allegations; we cannot know from our own observations what really took place. We are saying that from our perspectives, this is the kind of teacher many of us hope our children will have.

When we citizens write accusatory letters, we risk more than just the well-being of those directly involved in this situation. All of the school faculty and staff suffer, and we also set a poor example for our children and for each other. Those of us outside the formal process would do well to restrain ourselves from making public accusations; such restraint is our only protection against witch hunts and red-baiting; it is the only security of a free and just society.

Gwyn Jones and Ariel Phillips
Estabrook Road

A community teaches its youth

To the Editor:

Reflecting on the tragic week Worcester has endured, I felt compelled to write to my own community. I grew up in Worcester, and my dad is a retired Worcester firefighter. The last Worcester firefighter who died in the line of duty was my dad's best friend and "brother firefighter" Tony, in 1962. My dad was the one who eventually found him in very similar "warehouse fire" ruins. Our family and my dad have been very much affected by this week's events. It has brought back a lot of the "guilt in not finding him soon enough, and the pain that has lasted for 37 years." He has been comforted at the outpouring of support that he has seen and the impressive memorial.

I am extremely impressed with the way Worcester has dealt with this tragedy. To come together to honor these men that were fathers, coaches, brothers, sonsordinary menhas inspired me that humanity still exists. The fact that schools were closed and the children were allowed to share in one of life's hardest lessons is impressive. That the children were encouraged to talk about "What Is a Hero?" and write essays about heroism, service, brotherhood, honor, grief and loss, is so amazing in this day and age. In a sea of 40,000 firefighters, marching to honor their fallen comrades, we've seen that real men cry. An emotion that is often seen as weakness was shown as strength. The children of Worcester have learned that real heroes are not just sports figures, that heroes are regular people that do extraordinary things, and any one of us is capable of being a hero.

I was amused at one thought I had this weekthe children of Worcester have learned such valuable life lessons, but what they've learned will never be measured by an MCAS test.

Thank you to the Carlisle firefighters who assisted Worcester in covering their stations, as have many other communities this week.

Kathy Hassey
Fifty Acre Way

Kudos to the trails committee

To the Editor:

If you haven't worked with the members of' the Carlisle Trails Committee on one of their many weekend work crews, you are missing something special. All ages come together under the direction of this capable committee to help create new trails and bridges and keep old trails clear and passable.

We would like to thank members of the trails committee who helped direct the construction of a bridge over a wet area on the Bartlett Farm trail off Bellows Hill Road. On site, directing the group of volunteers were Louise Hara, Steve Tobin, Jack Innella, Janet Hentschel and James Patrick. We are also grateful to all of the children and adults who came to volunteer for this project on Thanksgiving weekend. The new trail and bridge provide access to Estabrook Woods from Bellows Hill Road.

The committee has put together an excellent publication of the extensive trails system in Carlisle. It is available at Town Hall for $5 and is well worth the investment.

Margie and Bill McCormick
Bellows Hill Road

It takes our joint efforts

To the Editor:

It's time for the Concord-Carlisle Boosters Club annual fundraising effort. With your support, we can continue to assist the CCHS athletic program. Every contribution helps, no matter how big or small. Every athlete at CCHS benefits in some way from your contributions: varsity athletic letters, pins, varsity recognition nights, coaches' recognitions and seasonal pocket athletic schedules. We also help fund the fitness center, the portable team benches, spectator stands, the portable sound system and equipment for the CCHS trainer.

We are appreciative of your continued generosity and extend a special thank you to all who support CCHS athletics. Donations can be sent to CC Boosters Club, PO Box 675, Concord, MA 01742-0675.

We are also looking for volunteers to help carry on the support of the Concord Boosters Club into the next millennium. For more information, please call Maria Barker 369-4677 or Nancy Kerr 369-1463.

Cindy Haley
CCHS Boosters Club

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito