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12-28-2012, 10:05 PM #1
Philly teacher who compared student’s Romney t-shirt to KKK garb faces lawsuit
The family of a 16-year-old Philadelphia teenager who charges that her geometry teacher mocked her for wearing a Mitt Romney t-shirt has sued both the teacher and the school district for violating her First Amendment rights.
The teacher, Lynette Gaymon, allegedly told Samantha Pawlucy to “get out of this class” and pointed to the door when she entered math class at Charles Carroll High School in September, FOX 29 reported. Gaymon then tried to mark the shirt with a red marker.
Gaymon also said the pink “Romney-Ryan” shirt the high schooler wore to school was akin to the garb Ku Klux Klan members wear, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.
When the incident occurred, Pawlucy’s parents called for the teacher to be fired immediately.
“This is Philadelphia, the birthplace of freedom and things like that, but we have schools that want to take away her freedom,” the girl’s father said.
The federal lawsuit, filed last week, alleges that the defendants ignored Pawlucy’s First Amendment free speech right. The incident demonstrated a “de facto prohibition” on students wearing clothing that endorsed the Republican presidential candidate, the suit maintains, according to the Inquirer.
The suit seeks damages for emotional distress because the teacher defamed Pawlucy by suggesting that she was a racist and because the district allowed students who disagreed with Pawlucy’s political views to harass her.
A representative for the school district wouldn’t comment on the lawsuit, the Inquirer notes.
On Oct. 10, Pawlucy was greeted by a throng of supporters when she returned to school.
Not everyone championed her cause, however. Pawlucy told the Inquirer that the furor caused her to lose friends. She also received threats via Facebook.
Pawlucy called herself resilient through it all. ”(I’ve learned) to stand up for myself,” the teen said, according to the Daily Mail. “Don’t let people tell me that what I’m doing is wrong.”
At the request of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers as well as school officials, Gaymon issued an apology to Pawlucy after the incident.
Gaymon’s mea culpa said she was “very sorry for all of the chaos and negative attention that has surrounded our school in the past couple of weeks,” according to the Daily Mail. She also suggested that she had intended her KKK comparison to be “light and humorous.”
12-29-2012, 11:47 AM #2
yea, the KKK is real funnyJay Shrewsbury
12-29-2012, 11:53 AM #3
So her wearing the shirt is freedom of speech. The teacher lacks such freedom, I suppose?
12-29-2012, 12:06 PM #4
Comparing a Romney shirt to the KKK, it makes you wonder sometimes how people like this teacher could or would choose the profession of teaching students.
12-29-2012, 12:16 PM #5
I understand the authority figure part, but how does saying something go against freedom of speech?
12-29-2012, 12:21 PM #6
12-29-2012, 12:40 PM #7
What if this was a lunch lady or janitor? Someone with no real authority...would that be different?
12-29-2012, 02:14 PM #8
For me, and I understand if people feel differently, I think I'd have an issue if any school employee said that, since they are all working for kids in one way or another. I think it just crosses a line.
12-29-2012, 02:27 PM #9
I get the reasoning on alcohol, tobacco, etc. However if this goes against the 1st so does clothing with alcohol advertising should fall under the same amendment. You're telling children they have freedom of speech and expression when, in reality, they don't. If a student doesn't have the right to near one sort of advertising, whatever it may be, how can they be allowed another type of advertising? It's a double standard and I'm fairly certain everyone who is up in arms over this would just laughter if it was an Obama shirt.
12-29-2012, 05:45 PM #10
She was sporting the baby pink Romney T-shirt after doing research into the presidential candidates and deciding she would support Mitt Romney on the issue of abortion.
Ms Gaymon allegedly compared it to the cloaks of the KKK and told her to take it off because she was at a 'Democratic' school.
The teacher is also said to have drawn an invisible X in the air in disapproval of the shirt and encouraged others to make fun of it.
She has since apologized to Miss Pawlucy as per a request made by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and a school district official.
In her statement, Ms Gaymon said she was 'very sorry for all of the chaos and negative attention that has surrounded our school in the past couple of weeks,' and called her remarks about the T-shirt 'light and humourous'.
Her intention, she said, was not 'to belittle Ms. Pawlucy, or cause any harm, and I truly regret that we have come to this point.'