MANCHESTER, N.H. (WHDH) - A standing ovation for high school senior Ana Goble who courageously called out inappropriate behavior perpetrated by her seventh-grade teacher five years ago.
The now 17-year-old was honored for her courageous acts by the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Thursday night.
“I had always been taught that if you see something say something and that is what I did,” Goble said. “I saw something weird and I spoke up about it.”
But, speaking out got the then 13-year-old into trouble.
Goble said she had serious concerns about inappropriate behavior by one of her teachers. A teacher that was very popular.
“I noticed that Mr. Leung would always hold exclusive lunches for a group of girls, he would take them on field trips and not invite other students,” she said. “I just thought that was really weird because no other teachers were holding exclusive lunches or exclusive field trips.”
Goble confided her concerns to a friend and later expressed them to her mother.
Before they could put a plan in place about how to move forward, Goble and her parents were called into the principal’s office.
“He told me that what I was saying was going around the school and it was harmful to the school’s community and I would be suspended for two and a half days.”
Five years after that meeting and suspension Goble’s father received a call from the police to tell him that the now-former teacher, Howie “Primo” Leung had been arrested on charges of rape of a child.
Leung allegedly engaged an inappropriate relationship with a then 13-year-old that lasted until she was a freshman at Concord high school.
“I couldn’t believe it but I knew it was going to happen,” Goble said. “The way that he was acting was just so weird. I wasn’t the only one who picked up on it. I just couldn’t believe it and I finally felt vindicated.”
Lyn Schollett, the coalition’s executive director said the teen did what they hope anyone would do if put in a similar situation.
“We hope that by honoring Ana other teenagers will know that there are trusted adults that they can talk to. That if they come forward we will listen we will believe them and we will make change happen,” Schollett said.
Goble said she hopes this honor will empower others to speak up.
“I hope that this teaches them not the be scared and that it is OK to question authority when you feel like something isn’t right.”
According to the president of the school board, the principal and superintendent are on unpaid leave while their handling of Goble’s claims is investigated.
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