My Turn: Sica deserves better than a rush to judgment

  • Concord High School principal Tom Sica takes a video of the marching band at the school's entrance on the first day of school for the freshmen class on August 30, 2017. Geoff Forester

For the Monitor
Published: 9/13/2019 8:00:19 AM
Modified: 9/13/2019 8:00:08 AM

A terrible thing happened in our community. A high school teacher, a “trusted adult,” stands charged with sexually assaulting one of our students. This fact is appalling, frightening and extremely disheartening. As a community, our hearts go out to the young victim and her family. We need our children to be safe, and they need to know they’re safe.

When terrible things happen, it is natural to feel angry. It is also natural to want to know who is to blame. I am writing to urge our community to avoid rushing to judgment regarding the serious issues we have been dealing with in the Concord School District.

I see our community becoming divided and that a petition has been circulated seeking the immediate termination of our high school principal, Tom Sica. I urge you to avoid turning your back on Mr. Sica during the formal investigation.

I have a unique perspective to offer having worked in the district for many years as a school counselor at the elementary level and then a special education coordinator at the high school and the middle school. I worked at Conant, Walker, Rumford, Dame, Eastman, Dewey, Rundlett and CHS. Over 25 years of employment, I worked in almost every school and with 16 different principals and assistant principals, including Tom Sica for many years. Of them all, there is no finer person or educator than Tom Sica.

Tom is a man of integrity with the highest ethical standards. He takes time with students and adults, listens carefully, considers carefully and cares deeply for our children and about our schools. His kindness and his good-heartedness are legendary. He is the genuine article, the person you want to sit down with when there are problems to solve, tricky issues to deal with, children’s well-being at stake.

I never witnessed Tom making snap judgments or jumping to conclusions. He was never too busy to listen, and could always make time for the kids, for the parents, for the staff and for me. It breaks my heart to see what has happened in our community.

I am asking you to suspend judgment until the facts are in. I’m asking you to pause. I don’t pretend to know who is right, who has made mistakes, or who is just plain wrong in all of this. But rampant rumors, children up in arms, families worried or up in arms, staff heartbroken about what has happened, all while Tom is being condemned in the court of public opinion, is not helping anyone.

I don’t know more than anyone else in the community about why Tom suspended the young girl from Rundlett. I know that I don’t know the whole story and neither do you. With the exception of a very few, we are bystanders in this situation. We must take that role seriously and be good ones. We cannot contribute to the problem or create more problems.

I, for one, will do what Tom would do for me were the tables turned. I will keep an open mind. I will listen carefully. I will not rush to judgment, and I will not speak ill of him. I will be kind and good-hearted. I will set a good example as he has done for so many others over the years. I urge you to do the same.

(Jane Cogswell lives in Concord.)

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