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Upper Perk Students Rally Behind Arrested Teacher

Supporters created a "We Love Mercon" page on Facebook, are making "Mercon Changed My Life" t-shirts, organizing support for his preliminary hearing later this month.

Many Upper Perkiomen High School students and community members are rallying behind health teacher and baseball coach Frank R. Mercon, of Upper Hanover, who was charged with failure to report child abuse after a student allegedly reported a sexual assault to him.

Over 1,300 people have "liked" a "We Love Mr. Mercon" (WLM) Facebook page to post photos and stories of Mercon, and send him well wishes after his arraignment yesterday.

"We support him because of all the things he has done right," one WLM fan said. "Not turn our backs for the one thing he did wrong.  We are all behind you Mercon."

The page, which has been up for less than a day, refers to Mercon repeatedly as "one of the best teachers at Upper Perk," citing his influence on the careers, health, and relationships of his students.

WLM fans mentioned famed "Godiva/Hershey's chocolate speech regarding sex and love," and a speech he gave students about drugs and alcohol.

One fan of the page said that Mercon helped him through an addiction as a student, and he was planning on going in to see Mercon because he has been having fears of relapse.

Photos on the page include Mercon with students at graduations, chaperoning high school dances, and coaching baseball.

There is also an air of civility on the page, with one fan posting, "I know Mr. Mercon was well loved by all students and he would want all of you to remain strong, supportive, understanding and united while maintaining respect for yourselves and all of those involved."

On the page, fans are planning to sell a t-shirt for $10 that will say "MERCON CHANGED MY LIFE" on the front, with proceeds going to the Mercon family.

Fans of the page are also planning to attend Mercon's Oct. 19 preliminary hearing at the Montgomery County Court House.

"I can't wait to see the entire Upper Perk student body show up at this," one WLM fan said.  "Heck, we might as well all make signs and start chanting Mercon's name"

Mercon is currently out on $10,000 bail, and has not faced any disciplinary action with Upper Perkiomen High School because the case is still in an allegation stage, according to 6ABC.

Upper Perkiomen School District Superindendent released a statement on the district's website, noting that the safety of students is the school's top priority.

SMYRNA-X October 06, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Richard h- your awesome! I havent seen someone tore up so bad on the patch in a while. One guy said 1300 "students," I use the term lightly, are going to beat you ass. Bravo! While the upper perk student body gears up to take on richard-h, perhaps one of these adorable, bully free, nerds could understand this is a country of laws. We use these laws, within the frame work of the us constitution. The laws and procedures, are designed to give the benefit of doubt to the accused. This man will get his day to prove himself. So stop crying and let the system work it out.
Team Mercon October 06, 2012 at 03:30 PM
People will stand up for what they are passionate about. I was a student in Mercon's health class in 2007. I'm now about to graduate from Temple. I've had quite a few world-known and world-respected professors, but I can say with confidence that Frank Mercon was the most influential teacher I have ever had in my life. We all know the media. I'm sure there are many details that have been left out. The bottom line is he did break the law, and he will face the consequences. However rather than jump to conclusions, we must all be capable of considering the circumstances. For a man like Mercon not to report something like this, there MUST have been a reason, and though we likely won't know the whole story, think of the possiblity. I won't even comment on the comparison to Joe Paterno. That's about as far fetched as the media. Anyway, I think what these students, including myself are fighting for is for Mercon to keep his career at Upper Perk. His lectures impacted every student and stick with them for life. To take him away from that would be so detrimental and deprive so many people of the most effective teacher at Upper Perk, and one of the most influential educators on the planet. Frank Mercon changed my life. He is the reason I am where I am now, he is the reason for my success, and he is the reason so many people would give anything to keep this trend of influence going strong. Despite your negative opinions, you need to respect this SAINT.
Alyson D'Alessandro (Editor) October 06, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Threatening comments have been deleted. Comments that are obscene, threatening or harrassing are against the Terms of Service. While Patch is a place where everyone is free to express their opinion, it is not a place to threaten someone with physical harm.
Concerned Mom October 06, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Thank You to Brett Wells for keeping this focused on a mandatory reporter not reporting a case of rape of a minor. It is difficult enough to trust someone when this kind of thing happens, let alone that the VICTIM was under 18. To have someone that you trust, that it sounds like so many have trusted, betray that trust and their legal obligation is what this needs to be about. Students need to be able to trust that when they report abuse, it will be reported and they will be protected. The GIRL was the VICTIM. A victim is someone who had their free will take from them. Mr. Mercon had a CHOICE and made it. He, his lawyer and the courts need to deal with the facts and Mr. Mercon needs to deal with the consequences of his choice. I pray for the health and hopefully future well-being of the girl. No matter how this case comes out, she will never be the same.
Brittany Tressler (Editor) October 07, 2012 at 12:41 AM
A comment was deleted because it violates Patch's Terms of Service.
MaryJane October 07, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Mr. Mercon is such an amazing teacher. I have his class this semester and it is just not the same without him teaching it. The way he teaches relates to students and helps them understand important, difficult to talk about topics in life. I agree what he did was wrong by law, but I also agree they should focus more on murders and rapists. I think those problems are more important than the situation at hand. P. S. Now tell me all my spelling errors Richard H. Cause ur an English teacher aren't you??
. October 07, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Sadly these kids don't understand this. They think because he is a "nice guy", that the mandated reporting laws shouldn't apply to him. If he was in fact told about a sexual assault by a student, he was required to report it. His failure to do so should cost him his license to teach at a minimum. These students are just making fools of themselves with their 5th grade reading level posts defending this guy. I thank god my kids aren't at this school and have been taught how to use basic grammar.
Ryan October 07, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Mr. Mercon has impacted countless students in a positive way. He was a great contributing member of society, unlike the pathetic people who are looking to find the negatives in any situation as they sit behind a computer screen while making a difference in no ones life.
Lisa October 08, 2012 at 02:28 AM
It wasn't a form of abuse that was being repeated so his reporting of the incident would've done nothing but trauamtize her even more than she was already. With no evidence, the case would have been dismissed. And the media would have made her into a slut who somehow asked to be raped, or deserved to be raped. And no one asks or deserves to be raped, but, that is how our media treats most female victims of rape. Had it been repeated abuse, where reporting it would have helped to prevent further abuse, then I could see reporting the incident. But one time does not warrant same reaction as knowing someone is repeatedly abusing a student. One time abuse vs. on-going abuse are two entirely different things. I hope the judge realizes that when presiding over this case. And I know Mr. Mercon saw to it she understood it was not her fault and not to put herself down because of it. Plus whatever else she needed to work through the ordeal so that she could live a healthy and happy life. And if this were a Christian school and he was clergy, this wouldn't even be in court since they are protected by confidentiality. Most likely the victim asked for this to remain confidential between them. He earned her trust, so why would he break it when nothing good would come of it? Had he broken her trust, she most likely would not be strong enough mentally to be able to handle reporting it herself just a few years later. That shows he helped her to overcome it and be strong for her own well-being.
Lisa October 08, 2012 at 02:50 AM
To all of you - I'm the mother of a child that had Mr. Mercon. He changed my child's life. She wanted to be a teacher because of him. She wanted to be able to touch others lives the way he touched hers. She even took extra classes he taught just to have him in her daily life that much more. So any concerned parents, your child is in good hands. He is probably the best teacher your child could ever have in their life. My child could call him anytime and he would call back to see if he could help them in anyway. And this is many years after they graduated. So keep your judgements to yourself when you have no idea what you are talking about concerning Mr. Mercon. Seems you would rather have had the girl traumatized by the media for an unwinnable case. And he was probably the only person she trusted. He would have broken their trust by reporting the incident and trust is earned not just given freely. Especially after a young girl has been raped. Trusting again usually takes decades after being raped. And yes, I know that firstahnd. I was raped as a teen but I never told anyone til decades later. Most don't tell anyone. So look at what it took for him to earn her trust and see that fact. And after reading the section of the law on reporting abuse, it makes it seems like when further abuse can be prevented. Impossible to prevent a one-time incident when it is a year after the fact when he was told about it. And I'm wondering why the rapist is not in the news. Oh right, no evidence.
Nonya Business October 08, 2012 at 04:47 AM
Frank mercon is one of the best teachers I have ever had. I say this now 10 years after being in his class. One of the few teachers you will remember for a lifetrime. What is the timeframe on it? Was it one week after she told him or 2 years? How did they find out? Did she report him not reporting it? Sure the law is the law but what is a law once wasn't and what is can still be changed. That's why we have a courtroom. That's why we have fair trial. It's the judges' decision what to do, and just how "wrong" he is. I'm not sure many of you understand the dynamic of a small town like Pennsburg, or how surrounding circumstances play into it. Maybe her life could have been endangered by it. You don't know that. That's not fact but there's several considerable factors that could come into play. I seriously doubt that he withheld it to protect a predator, or because he didn't care.
Nonya Business October 08, 2012 at 05:03 AM
It really saddens me that he'll probably lose his job over this, and be unable to get another job as a teacher. Save the spot in jail for a real criminal, you know, like a rapist or something.
Nonya Business October 08, 2012 at 05:12 AM
Ah, seeing the other post clarifies a bit for me. I see the perspective. But if the abuse did happen 7-10 years prior to 2009, I believe there's a statute in PA that says that legal action cannot be taken, unless I'm wrong on that or the law has changed. I didn't even know it was a boy. That's a rough thing to want to swing the doors open on- I'm sure the boy didn't want word of mouth to get around that he was abused. Stuff like that spreads like wildfire through a town like Pennsburg. And the kids here are ruthlessly cruel. I seen people in school and outside of school get harassed and made fun of for being sexually abused.
Lesley Misko October 08, 2012 at 06:09 AM
Richard H. is critical of the quality of student writing. However, he seems to have made a few errors of his own. Please note that in his Oct. 6 posting, he uses the phrase "nice guy" in quotes and follows it with a comma. Punctuation rules state that commas are ALWAYS placed inside, rather than outside, quotation marks. Also, please note the following awkward sentence construction on Oct. 5: "I nor anyone is required to support Mr. Mercon." In a context such as this one, "nor" best functions as part of a pair of coordinating conjunctions, so the sentence would best read, "Neither I nor anyone is required to support Mr. Mercon." However, even with that correction, the sentence structure still remains incorrect and awkward because the subject pronoun "I" would best be followed by the verb "am" rather than the verb "is." Ordinarily, I would not be critical of this minutiae, but Richard H. seems to place great value on following the rules, so I am glad to help in that endeavor
Lesley Misko October 08, 2012 at 06:14 AM
P.S. I did just note that I neglected to type a period at the conclusion of my final sentence. It is so difficult to be flawless at 2 AM; I hope that Richard H. will overlook my error, but I do humbly apologize. After all, a rule is a rule.
christina October 08, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Richard h do you have nothing better to do then to correct everyones mistakes? You have all this time on your hands.You know what you should be really doing homework and thats not proof reading everyones statements
Lesley Misko October 08, 2012 at 03:03 PM
# 1 -- To Mr. Mercon's Students ... Mr. Mercon must be a good and caring teacher and person to engender such support from all of you. I commend you all for being caring too, and for having the courage to speak out on behalf of what you believe to be unjust. Of course, like all of you, I extend my sympathy to the girl who was victimized. It is true that Mr. Mercon broke a law by not reporting what he was told; I wish he had handled it better. Similarly, I wish she had handled her attack better by reporting it to the proper authorities in a timely manner. But we all struggle with varied emotions. We are all fallible; that is what makes us human. Life offers complex situations and we do not deal with them in the best ways all of the time.
Lesley Misko October 08, 2012 at 03:10 PM
# 2 -- To Mr. Mercon's Students ... continued ... You may find it helpful "to google" the name Kohlberg and the words "moral development." There are many, but here is one link: http://psychology.about.com/od/developmentalpsychology/a/kohlberg.htm Richard H. and some other people are clearly an example of what Kohlberg's research defines as "Level 4" morality. People who function at this level believe that "the rule/law is the rule/law." The rule/law is the ultimate "decider" of right/wrong, good/bad, and people violate the rule/law, they must be punished. Those who reason at Kohlberg's "Level 4" are incapable of/choose not to see that things are not always so simple. For people who reason at this level, life is fairly simple: rules/laws are made to be followed; people who do not follow them are wrong; they need to be punished. There are levels beyond 4. I commend you for seeing the complexities of this situation, and realizing that at least some of the time, we need to think rather than unquestioningly "follow." The upholding of rules/laws, does not always provide for fairness, decency, or the best possible outcome, and when this is the case, do people not of the right ... indeed, the obligation ... to speak out, turn the rule/law aside ... and seek real justice. Personally, were it not for the Joe Paterno public lynching, I do not think your teacher would have been arrested. Those in charge are frightened; they do not want to end up like Paterno.
Lesley Misko October 08, 2012 at 03:16 PM
# 3 -- To Mr. Mercon's Students ... continued ... Finally, to those of you whom Richard H. has attempted to belittle by criticizing your spelling and grammar errors, this is simply another example of his Level 4 reasoning. You are breaking rules and Level 4 reasoners find that intolerable. He is unable/or chooses not to understand that what you are saying is more profound than whether you spell it correctly. However that said, I encourage you to believe what your teachers have undoubtedly been telling you for years: people will and do judge you by how you communicate! Whether you are writing or speaking, when you do it right and well, people will respect you and be more impressed by you, and therefore, more willing to hear what you are saying.
. October 09, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Lesley Misko - You sound like a level 5 jacka$$. Thanks for the laughs.....
Lesley Misko October 09, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Richard H. - I would not have expected you to say otherwise; thanks for the validation.
Allison McGovern October 09, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Also agreed. Like the man or not, he did not do his moral and legal obligation to protect this young girl who trusted him. If he is such a good teacher and a man who has the students' best interests at heart, he obviously failed with this girl. I wonder how he would react if someone covered up HIS daughter's rape.
Allison McGovern October 09, 2012 at 10:58 PM
AMEN! Sure he is a "good" teacher to the masses, but he failed miserably with this girl. Who made him judge, jury and executioner with her attack? Who gave him the right to minimize what happened to her. Did he know the suspect? Was he one of his former baseball players? Who did he think he was, covering up a crime? It is not only stupid, but it's criminal. Bad choices = bad consequences.
Kara October 10, 2012 at 05:40 PM
"Allegedly" reported a sexual assault. For all we know she was just some student who did not like Frank Mercon. Why wouldn't she report a sexual assault to the police? Or her parents? Now that she has reported it, why, if she even did report it to Mercon first, would she even bother worrying that she, as well as him, didn't do anything about it at that time and focus on reporting who assaulted her and catching that person? I will not pretend to know everything that happened, and I won't pretend that IF she did report it to him and he didn't do anything about it then he was wrong. However, I had Mr. Mercon in 2010 and he really did change lives. I know there have been lives saved by this man, either by offering advice to students, being someone they don't feel intimidated talking to, or simply because of the powerful emotional lectures he gives in his class. I personally believe that IF he is proven guilty he should face some consequences, but losing his job and especially doing jail time seem like a harsh punishment. Richard H- I don't know what you do for a living, and frankly I do not care. You claim to have children, so it seems strange to me that you spend your time online harassing children for their spelling errors while making similar ones yourself and criticizing them for supporting someone who changed their lives. I also don't understand why you even care.
Kara October 10, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Why should you care if students from a high school you and your family didn't attend support a teacher you have never met? The justice system will handle his punishment the same way whether the students support him or not. They are supporting a good man who made a mistake, as the article quotes "We support him because of all the things he has done right," one WLM fan said. "Not turn our backs for the one thing he did wrong. We are all behind you Mercon." It seems to me like you should just find a better way to spend your time, maybe spend it with your children or at a job.
Justin Basile October 11, 2012 at 03:54 AM
@Richard H. It's funny how you have nothing better to do than troll people about their grammar. Thanks for the laughs.
Tina P October 12, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Fact is that a failure to report has made it harder to prsecute this case and has left a rapist to roam free. Failure to report is a serious lapse in judgement that puts children at risk of harm. Good people make mistakes but that doesn't make their mistakes any less serious. Maybe the students' time could be better spent hel;ping to educate others about recognizing and preventing child abuse and sexual violence.
Richard H. the loser October 20, 2012 at 06:13 AM
Richard H. is a loser! If you didn't know Mr. Mercon then just keep your mouth shut, you don't know the whole story and we didn't ask for your opinion. Get a life loser...
kristle October 23, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Richard h.did your mother never teach you. "If you have nothing nice to say don't say anything at all!?" You sound like a miserable middle aged /old man who has nothing better to do but butt in on other peoples opinions. Get over yourself.man I pitty your daughter
Greg October 25, 2012 at 10:07 PM
I understand that Mr. Mercon technically broke the law, but I'm not sure the law makes sense in this situation. Who would benefit from him reporting this? The girl obviously didn't want this to be public, or she wouldn't have only told her teacher. There is no evidence to charge the rapist, so the only result of Mercon reporting this would be everyone knowing that this girl was raped. And it's not like we're dealing with a Sandusky-like man who's raping little kids, this was a college kid who took advantage of a girl that shouldn't have put herself in that situation to begin with. I'm not defending the rapist, I'm just saying this is a far cry from Sandusky and I doubt this kid is a harm to society. Therefore, I don't see who benefits from Mercon reporting this.

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