In the latest of what seems to be multiple, daily incidents of public school teachers abusing students for expressing divergent political views or being part of a vulnerable group (developmentally disabled, physically disabled or autistic), a teacher at Charles Carroll High School in Philadelphia kicked 16 year-old sophomore Samantha Pawlucy out of class, chased her into the hall, encouraged other students to mock her, and attempted to scribble or mark on her clothing. Samatha's crime? Wearing a pink Romney-Ryan t-shirt to school on "dress down" day.
In addition to the physical intimidation and interruption of education, teacher Lynette Gaymon told Samantha that wearing the shirt was the same as wearing a shirt featuring the KKK or Nazis. Ms. Gaymon added that "this is a Democratic school" and asked whether Samatha's parents were Republican.
Samantha has already endured additional ridicule from students while she attempted to return to the school. The ridicule is likely a result of Ms. Gaymon's recruiting other students to her side by telling them a student (Samantha) had "gotten her in trouble for making jokes."
Samantha's father Richard Pawlucy told NBC Philadelphia that if it was a joke as the teacher alleges, it would be different between two adults. Samantha believed she had done something wrong, her father told reporters. She is afraid to return to school.
Fernando Gallard, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia School District, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that "Pawlucy was practicing her constitutional rights to free speech, and that her choice of wardrobe fell within the dress-down day limits." Ms. Gaymon has been transferred to another classroom and the district is investigating the incident.
Other students have been sent home for wearing controversial t-shirts in recent days. Fifteen-year old Queens, NY, student Brianna Demato was sent home for wearing an "I Enjoy Vagina" t-shirt. Students as young as 5 have been ordered home for wearing college mascot t-shirts and U.S. Marine Corps t-shirts.
Samantha Pawlucy's situation is more serious than these simple dress code interpretation incidents. Pawlucy was forced out of her classroom, mocked in front of other students, had her t-shirt compared to Nazis or the KKK, and nearly had her shirt scribbled on. Gaymon was allowed to state the incident was a "joke" prior to offering any type of apology.
We live in a world where a Los Angeles elementary school teacher blindfolded third graders and fed them his semen on a spoon or crackers, and still draws an LAUSD paycheck while out on $23 million bail for dozens of felony child molestation charges. She should be fired, but given this pattern, Philadelphia teacher Gaymon will probably receive a raise, increased benefits, a promotion and a new marker to deface other students' t-shirts.
A teacher who would do any one of these things, much less all of them, to any student, cannot be "remediated" or trained. Gaymon does not belong in any classroom.