Talk about your classic contradiction…
It’s now all over the news, the Internet, the radio, Facebook, you name it and it’s there.
“It” is the soon-to-be legendary incident at Philly’s Charles Carroll High School involving a student named Samantha Pawlucy and a teacher named Lynette Gaymon.
The bottom line is this: the student wore a pro-Romney shirt to school and claims the teacher harassed her because of it. The student’s family complained and now the school is divided – supporters of the student (which seem to be few in number) and of the teacher.
The contradiction? Well, the student says her free speech rights were violated by the teacher and her fellow students who now despise her – and her family wants to put socks in the mouths of the students who now oppose their daughter. In other words, the family wants to deny those students their right to free speech.
The bottom line is that clearly neither side can be the “winner.” The student should be allowed to express her support of any candidate she chooses. However, the other students also have the right to be on the “other side” and if their opposition remains non-violent, well then the complaining student better learn to deal with it.
Let’s face it, kids will be kids. You want to wear outlandish clothes? Fine. Want to have your hair colored pink? Great. With these choices and expressions of opinion and individuality comes the risk of scorn. It’s the American way. You have the freedom of choice but remember that not everyone agrees with you.
Now about the teacher…
Not wanting to sound contradictory myself, I just wonder in retrospect whether the teacher’s decision to match political leanings with her student was the greatest of ideas. And really it’s not so much the teacher’s right to an opinion but realizing how kids are and wondering how they would react to the resulting battle of political stands.
Once the heads butted then the rest of the student body was off and running. Pretty soon the school district was involved, the girl’s parents were involved and apparently (according to a Philly.com story: http://bit.ly/Q1Dhyc) a retired Marine and former school district teacher and administrator got into the act carrying a sign supporting the student.
Anyone else had enough of this story yet?
What should have happened was that the teacher and the student had a healthy disagreement and then the teacher would to the teachers’ lounge for coffee and the student would head to physical education class for volleyball games and sit-ups.
Now when the girl returns to school on Tuesday she will be escorted by her family, etc., just fanning the flames even more. I have serious doubts anyone would touch the girl with a punch. Just my opinion although she will likely face some serious criticism. What she should do is just face the angry mob. Once you do that (again assuming no physical violence) it’s more likely that the whole mess will simply die down.
The more fuel on the fire the worse it will get.
Perhaps the school should set up an assembly and let the complaining student and a representative of the opposing side duke it out verbally? Maybe all in the name of a favorite charity? Try and make something positive out of it.
But drawing the family into the school as “muscle” to protect the girl is not a bright idea.
I do wonder what the district is really doing to put this to rest. Their idea, according to the Philly.com story? Well they are going to talk to the students and urge them to leave the girl alone when she returns to school. Oh yeh, that’s going to work out really well.
Why not just draw a huge target on the back of her shirt?
To me, everyone in this controversy has dropped the ball. The teacher should have kept her adult opinions to herself, the girl should have just let it go and the district should have gotten off their rear ends and property diffused this mess before it got out of hand.
Thanks to social media and pure adolescent silliness this affair has taken on humongous proportions.
We’ll see what happens on Tuesday.
Maybe the district will pick up some common sense over the weekend.
— Andy Hachadorian