Editorial: The cost of free speech

There are a couple of things that could have pre­ven­ted the moun­tain that arose from the mole­hill at the Port Rich­mond school where 16-year-old Sam­antha Pawlucy got in big trouble — trouble with a cap­it­al T — when she ar­rived at school wear­ing a T-shirt pro­mot­ing Mitt Rom­ney and Paul Ry­an:
1. Sam­antha could have kept her polit­ic­al views at home, where they be­long.
2. Her teach­er, Lynette Gay­mon, could have kept her polit­ic­al views at home, where they be­long.
Neither of those things happened, however, and now Amer­ica’s cradle of liberty is left with yet an­oth­er “teach­able mo­ment” in his­tory.
Yes, Sam­antha was well with­in her First Amend­ment right to free speech by let­ting the world know she thinks Rom­ney and Ry­an are cool guys worthy of lead­ing Amer­ica, but was it really ne­ces­sary to do it at school?
Yes, Ms. Gay­mon had the right to call Sam­antha out on it, but was it really ne­ces­sary to em­bar­rass the girl, com­pare her T-shirt to a KKK shirt, and make much ado about noth­ing at what she called a “Demo­crat­ic” school?
The School Dis­trict of Phil­adelphia should learn a les­son from this com­pletely un­ne­ces­sary in­cid­ent by im­me­di­ately end­ing “dress down days” and get­ting back to strict en­force­ment of a school uni­form policy for all stu­dents in all grades on all school days at all schools. Fri­days are every bit as im­port­ant as Mondays through Thursdays. Stu­dents should be free of all dis­trac­tions every day.
Any­thing less than a stand­ard school uni­form brings po­ten­tial dis­trac­tion to the classroom, par­tic­u­larly be­cause kids will be kids — even those who yearn to vote.
Send let­ters to the ed­it­or to: pronews@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at staff@bsmphilly.com.

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